There's a lot about this job that most of us are at least minimally trained for. When we teach, we at least have our experience as a student to draw on. Hopefully, we've also thought about pedagogy, sat in on others' classes, talked with experienced teachers, and done other things to make ourselves the best we can be in the classroom. When we write, we can draw on our academic background, training we might have from graduate school (if we went), and our experience as writers throughout our careers. Maybe others who go into other academic fields have more training, but we have some training or at least some professional experience in these areas.
However, one aspect of our job that most of us have no training for is counseling students. We can draw on our life experiences with family and friends, but most of us have no academic or professional experience as job, career, or life counselors. Yet, so much of what we do is exactly that.
In that vein, I want to consider a few of the more difficult counseling situations I've faced in my time as a law professor. My hope is that we can share our thoughts, successes, and failures around these situations (because I'm pretty sure we've all faced them) and in the process improve how we all help students.
I'll have future posts with different types of situations, but I want to start with the socially awkward student. I'll posit here that the student is very strong academically. However, the student is incredibly socially awkward. She has stunted conversations, is very shy, has odd communication habits, is off-putting in the way she uses language or carries herself physically, or something else that is obviously socially awkward. As a result, she has gotten a lot of interviews based on her paper resume, but she has had trouble actually landing jobs. What's worse, she may or may not know the reason for the difficulty, and you don't know one way or the other.
When she comes to you asking for help or advice or just to talk about where things are with her professionally, what do you do? How do you handle her awkwardness and the difficulties it's posing her in getting herself into the professional world?