School doesn't teach you the real nitty-gritty scenarios about life. You learn these tough-cookie lessons when they hit you smack in the face.
1. How to prioritize your relationships.
Family or friends? This friend or that friend? This event or that event? This potential work partner or that one? Prioritizing relationships is difficult because it means you inevitably - against everything you stand for, no matter how hard you fight it - have to place a higher value on someone or something.
2. How to sit in an office all day long. And feel great about it.
While school, sadly, may prepare you for sitting down for 8 hours (ridiculously large eye roll of disgust) it doesn't teach you how to like it. Sitting down for 8 hours a day is against everything human bodies are made to do. That fact remains for school and for work.
3. How to really, accurately, file your taxes (you know, on time and correctly).
Seriously. It's a lot more difficult than just plugging in numbers because tax laws are constantly changing. What applies to you may not apply to me. And then, heaven forbid, you start a business!
4. How to forgive someone for not having common sense.
They went and did something stupid and now you have to smile through that fury of emotions.
5. For that matter, school doesn't teach you what constitutes common sense.
The actual definition for "common sense" (the noun) is "good sense and sound judgment in practical matters." That's all we get, folks. Good luck walking around this world identifying what those extremely vague conditions mean and how they apply.
6. How to swallow adults acting like children and continue as if it's "acceptable."
Aye caramba. The backstabbing. The pettiness. The cheating. The blaming. The de-friending from social media. The whining. The pointing fingers. The neediness. I can't.
7. How to navigate an argument with a significant other.
School doesn't teach you how to love. And it certainly doesn't teach you how to passionately disagree with someone you love. It can be one of the thickest jungles to travel through seemingly alone.
8. How to let go of something you really want.
Disappointment is a wretched feeling. Defeat is isolating. It's a hard place to exist in.
9. How to get along with your in-laws.
Like trying to understand love, learning how to love your partners' parents can be challenging. They raised your partner (with all of their wonderful qualities, quirks and emotional scars), so you appreciate them but also have to accept (or deal with) what they so lovingly - or maybe not so lovingly - manifested in your partner.
10. How to change a flat tire or precisely where to put in washer fluid v. antifreeze.
Um, yeah. We'll just leave that right here because, apparently, it comes with consequences.
11. How to execute big-time city, state-wide, national or international ideas or dreams.
When you have a game-changer idea, schools may not always be the most encouraging. Instead of thinking big, some schools think small and tell you all of the reasons why you can't do something. (Personal note: As a dancer, I was told many times by educators that I needed to think of a "real job" instead of given support to create a plan for the career I wanted).
12. How to process terrorism and unanticipated violence like shootings and bombings in schools or at marathons.
I understand why school's struggle to handle this: who is really prepared to tell a room full of innocent children that they could be shot any minute? It's a terrible truth to have to deliver to smiling faces excited to learn. It's a terrible truth to have to carry as a parent. It's a terrible truth.
13. How to accept dogs when you're not a dog person (or cats, if you're not a cat person).
Pet lovers tend to assume everyone loves their precious baby: not true. So when they come into your space, lick you, jump on you, leave their precious baby fur everywhere, poop or pee on your carpet, it's difficult to take a deep breath and smile.
14. How to deal with the super unpleasant emotions like jealousy, anger, anxiety, depression.
These emotions weigh heavy and they can suck all of the joy from a room. Dealing with them will also affect your decision making and possibly lead you to a darker and more stressful place.
15. How to stand up against workplace bullying from a co-worker or superior.
You don't expect to be bullied by a co-worker or boss, but unfortunately, bullying doesn't stop on the playground. Dealing with workplace bullying is more difficult because it could potentially affect your work, finances, mental state and promotions.
School does a great job, but it simply can't cover all of these tough and expensive life lessons. These lessons, you learn the hard way.
The good news is: day by day, we become better at life. We become more resilient, stronger, smarter and so much more. So leave here knowing you are the smartest you've ever been today, and tomorrow you'll be a life genius.