Supporting The Process

Taking a step back, so the student can step forward

Our Internship Year’s design specifically helps each student to become more confident, more inspired, and more capable to manage one’s responsibilities and pursue one’s passions. Parents and guardians have an important, but necessarily secondary, role in supporting that learning process.

Firstly, it is a fundamental aspect of real-world learning that some of the learning will be bumpy. For decades, experiential education has been called “messy learning,” in large part because life rarely has simple, cookie-cutter answers. At those messy times, students often want to step back from taking on more responsibility for their life, and parents may feel, often reluctantly, that they have to step forward again.

But it is critical for success in adult life for the student to work through the “messy learning” in order to learn the skills of managing such situations and to gain the confidence that they can. And once they do, those skills and that confidence—we’ll package them as self-reliance—transfer into other environments, such as academics, as well.

For you to support this process for your son or daughter, just do your best to:

  • Remember that there is a caring, professional staff who are expert in mentoring and experiential education (and who are working with a thoughtful curriculum) right beside your student (so direct them to us if they call you first!)
  • Focus on the long-term gains (self-reliance, passion for a career, success in next steps, getting them to financially independence, etc.) rather than alleviating short-term stuff
  • Not disrupt natural outcomes— meaningful learning comes from real life situations. Parents and staff should give advice, encouragement and empathy, but we all have to avoid acting for the student (even if you always have)
  • Remind yourself that this is a positive change for everyone, so your role during their adolescence has to change as well. Anticipate it, and consider starting a new hobby (especially if they’re the last to leave your next)!