Mug Hannah Ball, Staff Reporter

Tri-County Times | Hannah Ball

There’s this trend in the millennial generation called “adulting,” which refers to completing adult-like activities like paying bills, setting up doctor’s appointments, and cleaning.

It shouldn’t be a trend to complete basic life skills. Yet, we get praise for “adulting” because we never officially learned any of it.

Here’s what I wish I learned in school, but didn’t — how to change a tire, jumpstart a car, balance my checkbook, how to cook, how much money will be taken out of paycheck for taxes, how to hem pants and sew on buttons, how to sign up for health insurance, saving for retirement options, what happens when I buy my first car, the importance of having good credit, and simply how to write a check.

To older generations, this probably seems ridiculous. This stuff is common knowledge, right?

Wrong.

We don’t have home economics in school, or a class on finances, like the older generations did. I’m 23 and I didn’t know how to do many “adult-like” things until about a year ago, four years past the age of being a legal adult.

If my generation is this clueless, imagine how clueless young adults will be in 10 to 15 years.

Parents can only teach their kids so much. After being in school for seven hours, the last thing a teenager wants to do is listen to Mom and Dad. I didn’t want to listen.

It’s not public education’s fault either. Over the past few decades, high schools have become more focused on preparing students for college, as they should be. Students are more likely to take certain classes in high school if it means taking fewer in college.

However, not everyone goes to college, and anything that affects the entire population should be taught in high school. We learn about wars, the quadratic formula, and what an allegory is, but we don’t know how to balance a checkbook by the time we graduate.  

I’m proposing schools bring back required classes like home economics, financial literacy, and other necessary life skills classes.

Automotive skills

For a day during gym class, students could learn how to change a tire, change the oil, and how to jumpstart a car.

Cooking

A cooking course in high school would teach students the basics of how foods mix together, the importance of eating healthy, and it would better prepare them to live on their own in the future.

Financial literacy

I didn’t know how to file taxes until I was about 20. Shout out to Turbotax for making it easy, but I wish I would have learned about the different tiers of income taxes, how much we pay in federal and state taxes, gas taxes, sales tax, and everything else taxed in school.

Students always complain about not learning anything they’ll use in the real world, but if you give them real life problems and situations they’ll face in the future, they’ll be much more interested in class.

What about applying for a car loan or signing a lease on an apartment?

Kids also need to learn about being responsible with their money, and the options of saving for retirement, like a Roth IRA and a 401K.

Sewing

I can sew now thanks to my mother, but 16-year-old me would have loved a hands-on class on altering clothes, sewing on buttons, hemming pants, and other helpful sewing techniques.

Health insurance

Get high school students interested in health insurance. They’ll have to sign up for it eventually. Students should know what certain plans cost, what a deductible is, and how much of their paycheck will go toward it.

If we’re at the age where we can legally vote and drink, we need to know all of the above.  

Society expects us to act like adults, but our system is focused so much on teaching kids that they need to go to school, go to college, and get a job, that it neglects to teach them how to simply live in this society.

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