Ah, the end of the semester and time to bid farewell to our interns. Over the years, I've made it my policy to save the ickiest conversations for the end. I usually start off with a big wind up of "I just want to throw this out there . . . I don't really want you to react, just listen and consider it some time on your own." And, then I try to share the tidbit of wisdom I hope will let them know that I noticed them, and have concerns for their future.
One year, I shared the rule of "once you break up with someone, neither they, nor their friends, ever get to see you naked again." You wouldn't think that this is the sort of advice you'd have to share with a soon to be "responsible and educated" member of society. But, you'd be surprised what the kids are getting into these days.
Today, I took one of our interns to lunch, all by herself. And, while she picked at the bit of steamed rice and avocado she ordered, I gently suggested that she spend time considering her eating habits. I gave a pretty academic run down of the various habits I'd noticed over the semester . . . like her obsession with body building women (pictures she posts daily on her tumblr), her habit of rattling off every single food item she'd eaten in the past 24-hours, and her uncanny knowledge of the various attributes of the various diet schemes (Jenny Craig vs. Nutrasystem, etc), and her claiming to be a vegetarian/vegan when she doesn't actually eat vegetables. (I didn't bring up her ability to recall content on various "pro-ana" web sites, she did.) I ended it with the line that sometimes, girls hide an eating disorder behind radical diets.
She didn't deny it. I hope that's a good sign.