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I'm taking three interns for a three month unpaid internship starting in March. Those interns are coming straight out of college and this internship is the only thing between them and their diplomas. Since I'll be their direct supervisor, I pretty much have a white card to do whatever I want with them.
It's not the first time I've done this (in fact, I've been doing for the past three years) and I know that those students are usually eager yet terrified of joining the workforce. At the college I take my interns from, I have a reputation of being a strict supervisor simply because I usually take their top students and that reputation is justified. Yet, students always come out of their internship saying that they loved the experience.
Why? Simply because I know this is their first exposure to the workforce as IT specialists and I try to make the experience as pain-less as possible. While most of the week is dedicated to work, I usually try to set time aside during the week for R&R or education (Beer nights, competitive code competitions, etc.).
I'm a strong believer of continual self-education and giving back to the community which is why I love Stack Overflow so much. I've been mostly providing high-quality answers to user questions and I'm looking for a way to give more.
I'm thinking this year of having Stack Overflow Thursdays. Essentially, I would dedicate half of Thursday to browsing Stack Overflow and answering questions (with good quality answers). Whoever gets most reputation during that half-day would get a free beer at the next beer night.
This would help teach them the importance of community in their work field and also would help them to hone their skills/acquire new ones.
So what do you think? Is this a good idea or not?