11 Essential Adulting Skills I Wished I Learned In School

11 Essential Adulting Skills I Wished I Learned In School

Taxes is appropriately at the top of this list.


The Pythagorean theorem. Shakespeare's plays. The water cycle. How to dress for an interview. These are just a sample of everything I learned while I was in school. Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful I learned all these things (even though I can't remember the last time I've used the Pythagorean theorem). But there are other pretty important things I wish I would've learned before I started adulting (and you probably wished you learned these, too).

1. Taxes

Seriously, why don't we learn how to do taxes in school??? Most adults now have no clue how to do their taxes. If we had received an overview in school, we'd at least know which items we could claim to get the money we're entitled to (but then again, maybe that's the reason why we're not taught how to do them).

2. Benefits

I would've loved to have received a breakdown of these before I started working full-time. When I was given an overview of my company's benefits, I was lost for a majority of the session (which lasted about 45 minutes). I wound up having a three-way conversation with my parents so they could both help me understand exactly what I was getting and decide which plan would best fit my current needs. Needless to say, it was an experience. At least a brief overview of the different job benefits available along with which plans would likely be for which age groups would've been great.

3. Budgeting

It's important to be able to make smart financial choices once you're on your own. I was ecstatic to see my first paycheck. "Yay, money!" Then I saw how much was taken out in taxes. Then I took care of bills and other essentials. And that amount dwindled. You need to know how to shop smart, especially if your salary isn't that impressive. Sure, you can figure this out as you go along, but the ride would be a lot smoother if we learned how to do this in school.

4. Basic life skills

Yea, I learned to read and write in school, but other basic life skills, like cooking and first aid, could be a class that a lot of people, including myself benefit from. "But your parents should've taught you that stuff." Well, my mom taught me, but not every family situation is the same. Some people learn to adult much earlier than they should. In those situations, people can really benefit from learning those and other basic life skills in school. I mean, if part of getting an education is to prepare you for the real world, why not teach the fundamentals, too?

5. Importance of credit

Credit cards and your credit score. Unless you took a financial aid course, you probably had to learn about these either through your parents or figure them out on your own. Credit can be tricky, but it's vital to learn as an adult. Building and managing your credit can be tough, especially when you're first starting out. A lot of people, myself included, could've greatly benefited from a Credit 101 class.

6. Networking

People do this, but not everyone knows how. Fortunately, this one isn't too difficult to learn, but it would still make a good class.

7. Professionalism

Adding this point because while I learned various aspects of professionalism in high school and college, a lot of other people apparently haven't. I've actually been a part of a group interview where a guy was wearing ripped jeans and a very decorative hoody (still shocked about that one). Apparently professionalism isn't common knowledge. It'd be great if all schools could teach people the basics at least (how to dress, how to write a resume, how to act in an interview, etc.).

8. Stocks

Don't ask me how these work. I still don't know.

9. Leases

I've signed one before, and I'm still not sure how these work. Seriously, someone make this a class and teach people how these work (and sign me up immediately).

10. Job hunting

Those who've been on the job hunt know how accurate this picture is. Sure, there's Indeed and Ziprecruiter and other job hunting websites, but do people even know about temp agencies? Not everyone knows about the different job hunting resources and options available. Why not teach us these things before we enter the work force?

11. Insurance

"Nationwide is on your side." "Are you in good hands?" "Fifteen minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance." You know the commercials, but do you even understand what they're advertising? Do you know how to sign up for insurance? What type of coverage you'll need? What all it covers? Yet another thing I would've loved to learn about in school.

Now, a lot of these could be learned at home. But again, not everyone can learn these due to various issues in their home environment. Also, while this could be argued as spoon-feeding, I think learning these and other important aspects of adulthood in school while receiving supplemental instruction at home (for those who can receive it) would actually help better our society.

They say every generation gets worse. Why not take some steps to reverse that trend? Teach us how to live right. At least then we can't say we never learned how.

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