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Whether this is your son’s or daughter’s first or final FWT, or somewhere in between, you are probably hearing a great deal about his or her transition to the rewards and challenges of 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 and the needs of organizations. This can be exciting and nerve wracking for parents, particularly if your son or daughter 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 are often the first people students will 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 for your son or daughter 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 your son or daughter has contacted the Field Work Term and Career Development Office. We are here all 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. FWT policies, requirements, and tips for handling challenges at work can be found in the FWT Handbook in the parents section of the Bennington website. Please feel free to be in touch with any questions.

The FWT & Career Development Office is open Monday–Friday, 8:30 am–4:00 pm during Field Work Term, and can be reached at 802-440-4321, or fwt@bennington.edu.