Troubleshoot Over Field Work Term

Whether this is your student’s first Field Work Term(FWT), their last, or somewhere in between, you’ll probably hear about their successes and challenges being a part of the professional world.

Bennington students go all over the country, and the world, to work for organizations as diverse as our students’ interests. This can be exciting and nerve wracking for parents, particularly if your student is struggling in the work environment. While most students have a positive FWT experience, almost everyone faces some challenges at their site. Most are typical struggles for new professionals, such as learning the office culture, understanding expectations, and finding a balance between what they prefer to do and what needs to be done. Occasionally, however, more difficult situations arise.

Family members can be the first people students reach out to when they have questions about the work world or are not sure what to do in a particular situation. You can be a great resource by listening and encouraging them to problem solve. A good first question is, “Have you talked with your supervisor about your concerns?” Learning how to initiate a conversation with a supervisor, bring up concerns in a diplomatic way, and advocate for oneself appropriately are some of the most valuable skills students can develop over FWT.

You can also ask if they’ve contacted the Field Work Term Office. We are here throughout FWT to answer questions, help students navigate difficult situations and, when appropriate, mediate or intervene on the student’s behalf. We ask students to let us know if any problems or changes occur as soon as possible so that we can be of the greatest assistance. Student can review tips for handling challenges at work here. FWT policies and requirements can be found in the FWT Handbook. Please feel free to be in touch with any questions.

If over FWT your student is having a significant challenge on the job (or with housing), it's important that they contact the FWT Office as soon as possible. We can provide greater assistance and support the earlier we know about the issue. (A student’s final FWT assessment is partially determined by their ability to meet the 210-hour requirement and by their employer’s evaluation of their work. Students anticipating difficulty in either of these areas who are promptly in touch with the FWT Office about their situation, and who are working with the FWT Office to address the difficulties, will likely be able to avoid academic penalty.)

The Field Work Term Office is open Monday–Friday, 8:30 am–4:00 pm during the Field Work Term period. Contact us.