How to Adult

Brought to you by Residence Life and Purposeful Work, How to Adult is a multi-part workshop series to prepare you with skills for life after college.

Life Architecture Short Term Course

One of several curricular Purposeful Work offerings during Short Term 2016, this new extradisciplinary course taught by director of Purposeful Work Rebecca Fraser-Thill takes a philosophical, psychological, and pragmatic aim at preparing juniors and seniors for lives of meaningful work.

Infusion project

The Purposeful Work Infusion Project exposes Bates students to worlds of work, questions of identity and purpose, and reflection on decision-making about work through curricular and co-curricular infusions.

Curricular infusions occur in “Purposeful Work Infusion courses,” which bridge the gap between course content and “work,” (broadly defined). Courses feature reflection exercises, reading assignments, and guest speakers designed to:

  • Encourage discussion of work, purpose and intentional decision-making
  • Enhance student reflection on their choices and their desired outcomes, both in the short and the long term
  • Improve exposure to “worlds of work” and the varied ways people construct lives filled with purpose and meaning.


The Purposeful Work Internship Program, begun in the summer of 2015, is woven into the Bates experience and culture. Our ultimate goal, dependent upon fundraising, is to provide every Bates student with the opportunity for at least one internship that has been specifically designed to help them test their interests, build their skills, develop their networks, reflect on what they’ve learned, and connect the experience to what they are learning on campus.

We know that students have a wide variety of career interests, and the Purposeful Work Internship Program is designed to support and enhance that diversity. Bates provides opportunities to explore a variety of industries across the country through our network of core-employer partnerships — employers who work with us directly to create internship possibilities for Bates students.

Purposeful Work Mini-Grant Program

Purposeful Work Mini-Grants are available to student groups seeking to host or participate in activities that align with the goals of Purposeful Work, and to individuals seeking to host such activities.

Practitioner-Taught Courses

Practitioner-Taught Courses are something fresh for Short Term – a chance to earn academic credit for a new kind of experience! Launched in Short Term 2014, PTCs are practicum courses taught by experts outside the faculty (usually Bates alumni).

Practitioner-Taught Courses provide an opportunity to:

  • Expose students to a variety of fields that lay outside the scope of our existing curricular offerings
  • Enable students to focus on the development of specific skills relevant to and necessary in the workplace
  • Encourage students to develop final products that contribute to their current and future career exploration and preparation for future work.

Speaker Series: Purposeful Work Unplugged

Purposeful Work guest speakers visit and engage in campus-wide conversations on a wide variety of industry-, work- and exploration-related topics throughout the year. Guest speakers also visit classes and meet with students individually and in small groups.

Student Employment Development and Reflection Program

Meaningful work happens every day on campus. Through student employment, you develop concrete skills and build your professional network. The Student Employment Development & Reflection Program supports students and supervisors in setting goals, discussing performance, reflecting on growth, and articulating skills gained.