What Schools Should Have Taught Us
The halls of high school are far behind me at this point, but I can’t help wishing they’d taught me more. For some reason, I think I should remember more than mitosis.
In retribution, I have compiled a list of things we should have been taught. The goal, of course, is not just to hate on my school. There are many schools that just assume our parents will teach these skills to us.
Fact is, mine tried. It wasn’t graded though, so I didn’t really care. Now that I’m forced to do it all on my own, I’m wishing that some common sense skills were taught in school, such as these:
1. Dealing with the bank
This includes a ton of small things: balancing a checkbook, the differences between credit and debit, or just a little side note that you need a certain amount in there or else they take your money away two dollars at a time. I get that some things you have to learn on your own, but I would rather have just absorbed that one.
2. What to do if you get into an accident
So there’s the obvious call 911 aspect of a car accident, but what about dealing with the insurance afterward? What about when the cops show up and ticket you? What if you or the person you hit need an ambulance? How do you cope with this stuff? The importance of AAA should also be stressed in this class. Just saying, a $300 tow is not fun.
3. Applying for jobs
You may need a resumé and cover letter someday. Some people will read this and not know what those are. I’m sorry. Hopefully, college can help you with that more than high school did. But high school emphasizes sports and volunteering and clubs more than it does the thing you will need to survive: a job. I think a job’s importance, even a small one after school, should be stressed more than it has been. Learning how to work in the real world while still in the cocoon of school is easier than trying to do it all alone.
4. How much stuff actually costs vs. how much you make
So, this could refer to things like detergent, but I mainly wanted to focus on rent. And cars. And insurance for cars or homes or children. If we decide we want a pet on a whim, we should be prepared for exactly how much it costs to take care of one (the food, the vet bills, the time it takes to care for them). With the real-life cost of all this junk we want, they should emphasize the money we will make after getting a full-time job. The “full-time” part should also be stressed, because I don’t think most of us understood what that meant until we had to do it.
5. Hospitals and health insurance
I was lucky to stay on my parent’s insurance, but what happens when you can’t? You have to choose a policy, and come to the reality that you have to pay for it each month, and that it only covers some stuff. You suddenly have to choose how bad this actually looks. And every now and then you have to call them to justify how bad it was. I did not know this. Insurance companies are exhausting.
On a good day, I can make mac n cheese. On a bad day, I starve. I don’t go eat with friends because that is way too expensive. I had this idea that I would order pizza everyday, or that the cooking skills would just hit me and I’d be this perfect, single housewife. Hasn’t happened. I eat plain cereal. Please teach us how to cook in our senior year so it’s fresh in our minds. Thank you.
My school did have some courses on these real-life skills, but they were not mandatory. I was on the AP track, taking all the hard courses that would get me somewhere in life. It got me a full scholarship to UConn, but I don’t have the basic survival skills that every millennial needs.
I also lack motivation to learn them, but that’s a me problem. I’ll wake up one day. Overall, I would have liked to learn these skills in school, but I can’t place all the blame on the administration. I have a part in this too, even if I like to pretend I don’t.
Have any suggestions for what the school system should have taught us? Comment below!