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An education

February 22, 2013 -  By

It was lunchtime. My plane was still on the ground in Chicago, where it would stay for a very long time. Suddenly, I had six hours to kill in a Lansing, Mich., hotel restaurant. And there’s only so much you can eat

Beth Geraci

Beth Geraci

and drink in that span.

As I passed hour upon hour working at a small table, the diners next to me came and went. They all had two notable things in common: They were Michigan State University undergrads. And they talked about internships and part-time jobs they had just gotten.

“It’s in finance and it pays $17 an hour,” one student told his friend of his internship offer. “It’s a good opportunity, but it’s so many hours. I’m not going to have any free time.”

“Just take it,” his friend said. “It’s only for three months. You’ll be done by May.”

By the end of the lunch, the girl had talked her friend into taking it.

And so it went throughout the day. Even as I looked around the restaurant, the entire staff looked to be students. They were cordial and fast and had it together.

I thought about my college days and had to laugh. I was too busy having fun and making it through the semester to worry about much else. I did have a summer internship, but it wasn’t my idea. It was at a local radio station, and I spent more time at the mall buying the DJ soft pretzels than I did actually working.

But on this day, with each passing shift and each new twosome that sat down next to me, I was more and more impressed. Impressed by the students’ ambition, their discipline, their maturity.

As 6 p.m. neared, a student and her mother dined over pulled pork sliders and a Caesar salad. “I had three interviews today, and they all went really well,” the student told her mom. “And I have two more lined up for tonight.”

Through the window behind me, I noticed out of the corner of my eye a sea of students streaming down the hall. The girl said they were all there for a career fair. Suddenly the common theme of the day’s conversations made sense. It was a frigid, snowy night in the single digits, yet the lobby was crammed with hundreds of undeterred students. It was heartening to see so many of them with such promise.

The Professional Landcare Network’s Student Career Days is about a month away. Will you be there? How’s your internship program looking? These students will be graduating in a few short months. With an increasingly competitive environment for talent, what are you doing to attract them?

Reach Geraci at


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About the Author:

Geraci is a freelance writer based in Cleveland. She has worked as a professional journalist for more than 15 years, including six years as a writer for the Chicago Tribune. A graduate of Allegheny College and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Geraci began her career as an editor at a newswire service in Washington, D.C., where she edited and distributed press releases from the White House and congressional leaders. She went on to become the community news reporter at the Jackson Hole Guide newspaper, winning two national feature writing awards. Her other experience includes working as a book editor in Chicago and as a professor of business communications at Cleveland State University.

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