My high school teachers constantly said that their job was to prepare us for the "real world." One teacher, in particular, balked at the cliche: "what is this now, then, some sort of pre-, fake world?"

But in a way he was right. You don't realize how easy you have it in high school until you're out on your own. As I enter the "real world" for the first time, I'm frequently reminded of all the real-life skills I was never taught in high school. I'm in no way prepared for the real world.

1. How to do taxes.

If you don't do your taxes, you will be arrested and serve jail time. But taxes were not even TOUCHED upon in my high school curriculum.

2. What taxes are.

I know that taxes are what pay for our roads and bridges and welfare and all that, but do I actually know the types of taxes we pay and where that money goes? Not a clue.

3. Pay bills.

Do I go online? Do I put cash in an envelope and mail it? Do I charge it to a credit card? Help!?

4. The difference between a debit and credit card.

I only know the difference because I asked my mother and she explained it to me.

5. How to get an apartment.

How much should I be paying in rent? How do I pay utility bills? How do security deposits work?

6. How to clean my apartment.

How often am I supposed to clean? What cleaning products should I use?

7. How to cook.

If left alone to fend for myself, I would eat mac and cheese until I starved to death. Like a lot of kids, I wasn't taught at home how to cook. I shouldn't have had to go to technical, culinary school like my boyfriend did to learn basic cooking skills.

8. How to grocery shop.

What do I buy? How to know what's too expensive? I'm a broke college student, and I don't know how to grocery shop on a budget!

9. How to get insurance.

Do I have to apply? What kind of insurance do I need, and how do I get it? It's illegal in some states, including my own, to drive a car without car insurance. Yet I was never taught how to secure it.

10. What insurance is.

I get that it covers if you get into a car accident or something. But which types are really necessary?

11. What a credit score is.

And how do I get one? Do I need one? How do I know what it is? HOW DOES IT WORK!?

12. How to have safe sex.

13. How to apply for money for college.

High schools like to assume that most of us will go straight to college after graduation. Yet how to apply for scholarships, and where to find them, were never covered in high school, nor was how to fill out the FAFSA, which is required for virtually every college.

14. How to party safely in college.

Let's face it, nearly everyone goes to at least one college party their first semester. So why not teach girls to always open their own drinks, not to drink from punch bowls, and never to leave their drink unattended?

15. General safety tips.

We live in a world of kidnapping, murder, and rape. Young women especially need to be taught how to protect themselves out there in the great, big world. For example, to avoid walking to her car alone, especially at night, to carry her key in her hand in case she is attacked, and to lock the car and drive away as soon as she gets in her car.

16. How to prepare for parenthood.

I'm not saying high school students are preparing to become parents anytime soon, although some are. Not everyone has caring parents who will help them when and if they choose to have children. High school kids should at least be taught the expenses and sacrifices involved with having children, so that they are at least somewhat prepared.

17. How to plan for retirement.

Will this generation ever retire? Probably not. But we should still know when we are supposed to start saving, and how much to save each year.

18. How to pay off student loans.

Where do I get this money, and where do I send it? How much is my interest rate?

19. How to buy a car.

What is a lease? What is a car payment?

20. How to register a car.

Where do I get license plates?

21. How to care for a car.

How do I change the oil? How often should I be changing the oil? How do I change a tire? What should I do if I get a flat tire? What are emissions, and how do I do them?

22. How to get a mortgage.

23. What a mortgage is.


So good luck with the rest of your life!