A popular topic among students recently is whether or not schools are offering classes that teach important life skills that will empower us beyond academia. Two major ones stick out in my mind: food and finance.
Many schools lack any sort of culinary instruction, or practical tutorials on basic banking and finance. Let’s talk about cooking first. Those of use going off to college after graduation are going to get hungry, and mom, dad, grandma, that one friend who knows how to boil water, and/or our older sibling isn’t going to be there. But even those moving into the workforce after high school should be able to cook at home. For me, the biggest reason is the money you save, because going out to eat all the time isn’t cheap, and it definitely wouldn’t be healthy to sit in a dorm room eating instant ramen night in and night out.
I asked some friends of mine what they thought should be taught, and some of them agreed with my cooking class idea. They also said classes should be offered that addressed credit scores or other financial challenges. Just like any adult, they said, we want our own apartments, our own cars, our own STUFF. I agree! I know it may sound like I’m repeating myself, but only because we have it repeated to us constantly —
Save money, Save money, Save money
Adults remind us of this regularly. It’s what sticks in people’s heads, and if it isn’t then I need to make sure it is now. We want to be safe, secure, enjoy travel and possessions. This takes money, and the planning begins now. School can and should help push us towards that goal.
Currently we do not have anything like a home economics class at our school, but we do have a financial math class. This class talks about accumulating credit, checking accounts, taxes, and basic finance. These are valuable, practical, everyday skills we need. Yet, there are still math classes we’re forced to take for credit that we won’t be asked to use later in life unless we plan to teach.
Obviously, there are other classes that if offered could add real world assistance to students — more courses geared towards tech and programming, more foreign language classes, or design. Students should have more choice in what classes they take while in school. Requirements and credits are fine, but we’re all different, we all have different goals and visions of where we want to go after graduation. Our classes and skills should reflect our differences. Even with those differences however, there are basic survival skills we need that we’re not getting. This needs to change.