As a junior in college, I can confidently say that I know the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell and yet, I have no idea how to go about filing my taxes. It seems throughout my education I have been taught little about how to be a true adult, and in less than a year I will be catapulted into the real world, forced to be one.
Recently, I received a W-2 form in the mail and spoke to some friends about it, only to be informed that if I do not declare my taxes soon, I could be fined or face jail time. I proceeded to call my mother in a panic, but she assured me it would be OK and to just mail it back to her. The form is now out of my hands and I have dodged yet another opportunity to “adult” in the real world.
Every year in high school I was taught all about U.S. history and geometry, but I was not taught other important things, such as how to write a check or how to sign up to pay bills. When it came to my parents buying a house or car, they all just seemed to have appeared when they were ready for it; they made it seem so much more simple.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe that we should be taught about all major subjects in order to be well-rounded, culturally-aware adults. However, being taught life skills in addition would help me feel slightly less terrified to take on the real world alone.
It is not that we are being taught useless information, it is the lack of information on life topics that we are not being taught.
Although I realize my parents were not taught these life skills in a classroom setting and got through life just fine, I’m sure they learned how to do so the hard way.
I know I will learn to do these things on my own eventually, but realistically speaking, these life skills are what we should have been taught from the start. Knowing these skills prevents us from getting in trouble with the law or getting charged for a missed payment.
At this stage in life, I feel ill-prepared to live on my own and make financial decisions for myself. I propose high schools and universities offer a variety of classes teaching students how to compose a resume, pay a phone bill, save money and manage time.
These are the skills we will truly appreciate when we are forced to enter the terrifying world that awaits us beyond college.