On December 21st, I was in Ft. Pierce, Florida, and I drove past Indian River State College. I have fond memories of this campus. When I was just fourteen years old, back when the school was Indian River Community College, my Dad was a professor there. He taught classes in the summer, and I got to come to campus with him every day.
He introduced me to his colleagues, and I was able to help out with a bunch of the campus services. I worked at the pool, I worked in the theatre, and I worked at the print shop (just to name a few). I learned so much and met many wonderful people who patiently showed me how things worked. I was naturally inquisitive and soaked it all in.
I don’t think this kind of opportunity would happen for a young person today. First of all, there are too many labor laws that would keep even an interested fourteen-year-old from performing any of those jobs. But I suspect there are few young people today that would be interested in learning about these jobs and have enough initiative to undertake them.
Too few millennials are interested in accumulating experience, especially in manual tasks or things that don’t involve social media. But I think that is a mistake; getting as much experience as possible is crucial for young people to understand what they like, what they don’t like, what they have affinity for, and what their skills are unsuited for. The few “Grounded” millennials I do meet seek out these opportunities to learn new things and have new experiences. Regardless of your age, it is never too late to have initiative to seek out new learning experiences.