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Old 01-24-2010, 01:55 PM   #21
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Given the tough economy and the struggle many students are having finding good summer and part time jobs, I liked the co-op program DS participated in while doing his BSME. He was on campus full time for the first two semesters, then worked for his co-op employer the following summer, then alternated semesters at school and at work until he graduated. No worries about his motivation to work or having him waste time scooping icecream at the "Icecream Shoppe" at the mall all summer when he should have been doing engineering related work.

Co-op programs don't seem to be as popular as they once were. And, they are a grind for the student as you never get a break......you're either at school carrying a heavy engineering load or on the job doing serious engineering related work. But in the end you have your BS and a year+ of related job experience.
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:24 PM   #22
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No worries about his motivation to work or having him waste time scooping icecream at the "Icecream Shoppe" at the mall all summer when he should have been doing engineering related work.
Hey, let's not overlook the motivational power of cleaning movie theater bathrooms or cooking McD's fries or digging ditches on a golf course or trying to get the ice cream out of your scooping armpit.

In Hawaii, working in a pineapple field was far more motivational than any high-school counselor's college-prep course. Just seeing the crews in the field was enough to make our daughter mutter "Kids, stay in school." Now she listens to her friends' horror stories about what really goes on in those fast-food & entertainment businesses.

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Co-op programs don't seem to be as popular as they once were.
They seem to have disappeared. (Does U of Cincinnati still do a EE co-op degree like my father got in 1956?) Maybe kids didn't want to go to them because they're "too hard"? Out of the thousands of pieces of college engineering e-mail that've come through our mailbox in the last few years, I only remember one or two.
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:31 PM   #23
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...I already knew that I wouldn´t like being a lawyer or anything to do with legal work. Which I did for 30 years.....
My, 30 years is a long time to do what you hate. I always enjoy doing what I do, and only hated my job when it got tangled up in human aspects, office politics, envy, ego maniacs, etc... And that was already bad enough for me to walk off my cushy megacorp jobs.
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:57 PM   #24
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They seem to have disappeared. (Does U of Cincinnati still do a EE co-op degree like my father got in 1956?) Maybe kids didn't want to go to them because they're "too hard"? Out of the thousands of pieces of college engineering e-mail that've come through our mailbox in the last few years, I only remember one or two.
I may have spoken too soon when I said that co-op programs have fallen out of favor, at least in regard to DS's and DIL's alma mater. I do note they have added the name "Professional Practice" to the program to spiff it up a bit. From the Purdue web site:


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Professional Practice is a formal plan of education in which students alternate sessions of full-time work with sessions of full-time study. Purdue's Professional Practice Program (Co-Op) is a five-year professional development experience, designed to combine practical on-the-job experiences with the classroom training of a four-year college curriculum. It helps students integrate theory and practice, confirm career choices, investigate potential job opportunities, and become better graduates. At the same time, it allows students to earn money and help finance their education.
Formally initiated in 1954, the program now serves about 1000 students and 500 employers from private industry and government agencies. The program is available to the students in the Schools of Agriculture, Consumer and Family Sciences, Engineering, School of Liberal Arts, Management, Science, and Technology.
The Professional Practice (Co-Op) Programs is a voluntary plan for students who finish their first or second year at Purdue in the upper half of their class. Admission requirements vary from school to school and not all students who apply to the Professional Practice Program find Co-Op jobs. Once a Co-Op job is accepted, students alternate sessions of academic study with sessions of work with a qualified employer. Faculty Coordinators screen potential employers to assure quality job assignments and refer interested students for job interviews - typically in the spring of the year.
I guess this doesn't do much to solve Sam's issue though......... The student still has to be motivated to want to be part of the co-op program.
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Old 01-24-2010, 03:13 PM   #25
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I'll 2nd the co-op suggestion. Either do it formally through the uni or informally by getting a discipline-related summer job/internship. Usually pays better than unskilled service industry work, builds a solid resume and gives real skills and perspective to help explain or contextualize what the student is learning in school. Also could lead to a solid full time permanent gig after graduation, or lead to the realization that the employer really sucks and it would be better to find a different employer.
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Old 01-24-2010, 03:23 PM   #26
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Summer of '73...I labored for 6 weeks as a telephone solicitor, cold-calling to try to generate leads for insurance salesmen. I was only 16 so of course my success rate was abominable--I sometimes wept at the way people treated me on the phone--and finally quit to avoid being fired. I did much better clerking in stores...chatting with people about things they actually *wanted* to buy!

Alan, 25 days a year is a darn good vacation...I worked for the Govt for 15 years before I qualified for 25 days.

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Old 01-24-2010, 03:48 PM   #27
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I worked my way thru college, starvation and the fear of failure were powerful motivators...
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Old 01-24-2010, 04:03 PM   #28
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Hey Alan! that summer of ´73 I did a 10 day touring of South/Southeast England. It was a year after I finished my Law degree. By then I already knew that I wouldn´t like being a lawyer or anything to do with legal work. Which I did for 30 years..... So you can´t imagine how happy I was when my Company forcefully ERed me in 2005 with a very nice compensation and pension....
I don't suppose you went to the FA Cup final at Wembley that summer? My home town, Sunderland, beat Leeds to become the first team from outside the top division to win it since before WWII
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Old 01-25-2010, 05:45 AM   #29
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Husband says he was not motivated to go to college after high school. It did not occur to him not to work; he would have been ashamed to "sponge off" his mother. So, he lived with her and bounced from one low-level, awful job to another until he was almost 20, realized this really WAS all there was to look forward to, then asked his mom for money to go to the state U - which fortunately, she was able to provide. He loved college, got straight A's, and worked summers at a seaside hotel, which he also enjoyed. He says the keys to his motivation were a) despair at his job prospects without a degree and b) his brain just "grew up" between 18 and 20.

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That's about where I was. Not being sure of what to do I took a sort of "working sabbatical" unloading trucks at a department store, which was better than the gas station because it was inside. Decided to go to the community college and went back to gas station work during college. One of the great motivators to stay in school was that I was an evening shift supervisor at 19 and one of the people I supervised was 50 years old - ancient at the time.

I did NOT want to make a career of working in a gas station!
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Old 01-25-2010, 06:48 AM   #30
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I don't suppose you went to the FA Cup final at Wembley that summer? My home town, Sunderland, beat Leeds to become the first team from outside the top division to win it since before WWII
No Alan, I didn´t. it was all walk walk walk ......and fish and chips.
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Old 01-25-2010, 09:13 AM   #31
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That's about where I was. Not being sure of what to do I took a sort of "working sabbatical" unloading trucks at a department store, which was better than the gas station because it was inside. Decided to go to the community college and went back to gas station work during college. One of the great motivators to stay in school was that I was an evening shift supervisor at 19 and one of the people I supervised was 50 years old - ancient at the time.

I did NOT want to make a career of working in a gas station!
Walt, I paid for most of my college by working in a busy gas station in KC in the late 1970's- had a great boss who put me to work every summer, over college breaks, even when I was home from school and just wanted to work a weekend here and there. I pumped gas, did tire repairs, light mechanical, drove the tow truck, and handled service callouts. I enjoyed the hands-on work, learned a lot about running a business and dealing with people, but completely understand what you mean about looking at your co-workers and deciding you didn't want that as a career... When I graduated, my boss said that he'd "never had a nozzle jockey go to college before", gave me a really nice $$$ graduation gift, and then told me I needed to get a real job as as far away from the station as I could... I did and never went back.

Wouldn't trade the experience for a full ride scholarship...
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Old 01-25-2010, 09:22 AM   #32
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I made a bunch doing hard labor 55-60 hrs a week during HS summer. Sun up to sun down. Rodman on a private land surveyor crew. Slogging through swamps, briers, creeks, poison ivy, up and down hills, cutting lines through the trees, bush, weeds, etc. Hauling the supply bag, metal detector, pick axe, etc. Frequent 95-100 degree days with humidity over 90%. Drink 3 gallons of water a day and still get dehydrated.

Received time and a half pay for the overtime, so I was making a fortune for a 16 year old. That gave me plenty of spending money for the summer and lots of cash in the bank for college. But no way would I want to do that type work forever.
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Old 01-25-2010, 11:16 AM   #33
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But no way would I want to do that type work forever.
A lot of people join the military because they're tired of sitting in schools. But then they'd "learn" that sea duty is a great motivator to focus officers & sailors on getting their degree before their next sea duty...
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Old 01-25-2010, 11:59 PM   #34
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They seem to have disappeared. (Does U of Cincinnati still do a EE co-op degree like my father got in 1956?) Maybe kids didn't want to go to them because they're "too hard"? Out of the thousands of pieces of college engineering e-mail that've come through our mailbox in the last few years, I only remember one or two.
I don't think you can graduate from UC with an engineering degree without doing several co-op stints.
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Old 01-26-2010, 05:29 PM   #35
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That's about where I was. Not being sure of what to do I took a sort of "working sabbatical" unloading trucks at a department store, which was better than the gas station because it was inside. Decided to go to the community college and went back to gas station work during college. One of the great motivators to stay in school was that I was an evening shift supervisor at 19 and one of the people I supervised was 50 years old - ancient at the time.

I did NOT want to make a career of working in a gas station!
Sounds like my husband...his longest-lasting job (before the Fed career that he landed after college) was working in a warehouse, loading crates of linoleum and glass - incredibly heavy stuff - on and off trucks. The warehouse manager wanted to "groom" him to take over after the manager retired. Husband was smart enough not to say what he thought of that idea

If I'd been around, though, I would've given something to see Mr. Amethyst, stripped, after a few weeks of hauling those crates of lino and windows around Also, the job did teach him proper lifting/carrying technique.

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