School is infamous for being a place where people are taught things that they'll never use. Who really cares about the timeline of the Russian Revolution, what the quadratic formula is, or how to apply Newton's Laws of Motion to a car on a race track? High schoolers often look forward to the freedom of graduating and going to college, but once they're living on their own, they realize there's a lot of things they didn't know about the real world. Some high schools have added classes to fill these gaps; for example, my high school offered "Senior Seminar" in which you learned about personal finance, how to take care of babies, and other useful topics. However, if you were like me, you didn't have room in your schedule for the class, so you missed out on valuable life lessons. Here are some things that high schools should implement in their courses.
1. Personal finance and budgeting
Learning how to balance a checkbook, divide your income into categories, and plan for unexpected costs would've been really useful and probably saved people from a lot of debt.
2. Apply for and manage loans
At some point, we're all going to take out student loans, buy a car, buy a house, or some combination of the above, yet we have no idea how to even apply for a loan and know what a good interest rate is.
3. Read leases
If we decide to rent an apartment or house, we'll have to be able to understand what is expected of us as renters and what to do if issues arise.
What exactly are they? How do you calculate them? How do you know which forms you have to fill out, and how do you do so? So many questions, so few answers.
Insurance is another thing that everyone ends up getting at some point (and if you don't, you need to). How do you pick a good policy and file claims if something happens?
6. Nutrition/basic cooking skills
Other than maybe a home economics class in middle school, we really didn't learn anything about how to cook basic foods and eat healthy. America has a reputation for being an overweight country, but maybe we could change that if we learned more about how to be healthy.
7. Survival skills
Would you know what to do if you ended up in Liam Neeson's shoes in The Grey? I wouldn't know how to build a fire, construct a shelter, or find food in the wilderness.
8. Self defense
Having never taken any martial arts classes or anything, I have no idea how to defend myself from an attacker or intruder. It might be nice to know.
9. Car maintenance
My dad showed me how to check the oil and replace a tire when I got my license, but really, I don't know what to do when a light comes on in my car.
10. First aid
I don't know about you, but all I can do is put on a band-aid and offer some ibuprofen.
11. Stress management
Everyone gets super stressed in college or at work or wherever you're at in life, so knowing how to manage it would be a lifesaver.
12. Mental health
This is a topic that's been gaining attention in recent years, but schools still don't teach anything about it. Some psychology courses cover some mental illnesses, but learning more about the most common ones and how to deal with them would be helpful.
Whether it's a partner, friend, or coworker, learning how to deal and work with people is something you really just figure out on your own.
Whether it's with your partner about what to eat for dinner or your boss about why you should get a raise, negotiation is a crucial life skill.
15. Resume writing and interview skills
Some English classes cover how to write a resume, but really, do you remember any of it? The quality of your resume and your performance at the interview will land you the job, so it's important that everyone knows these skills.
16. Job searching
High schoolers may look forward to graduating and getting their dream job, but no one really knows where to even start finding it. This would be helpful for both people going straight into the workforce after graduation as well as people going to college.