Things School Didn't Teach Me
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Politics and Activism

As A Legal Adult And A Graduating Senior Off To College, There Are 13 Things I Still Don't Know How To Do No Thanks To The Public Education System

If it means anything, I can play hot-cross buns on the recorder.

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Disclaimer: The following piece is humorous and satirical. It is meant to poke jokes at our education system so please do not take it to heart. Thank you!

This May, I will be graduating from one of the highest ranked public high school in all of the state of Georgia. Thanks to my 12 years worth of public education, I've gained many talents such as a knack for playing the violin and a love for my history and literature classes. I've gathered countless skills that have expanded my knowledge in various areas such as critical thinking, information analysis and how to collaborate with peers. Many of my Advanced Placement classes have allowed me to adapt to the college-course rigor before I even enter university.

I am 18, an age the government considers a legal adult. I can legally vote. I can legally buy cigarettes (don't smoke kids...). I'm going to pursue Political Science at one of the top Universities in the state of Georgia. But even with all that, there are still things I have no clue how to do that I think are a bit (...when I say "a bit," I mean "a lot") important to the success of my future out there in the real world. The real world isn't going to ask me to find the value of the variable 'x' or why Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492.

Instead, they're going to ask me the following things that I have absolutely no idea how to do, no thanks to our public education system.

1. How do you file taxes? And how do I budget and invest properly?

I'm working two jobs, and we're currently in April. I still don't know how to file taxes, even after taking Economics in high school (which, by the way, was a required course).

2. So I'm looking for a job... what needs to go on my resume? And how do I prepare for a job interview?

3. I'm going into college soon (and so are the majority of my fellow peers), but none of us know how to take loans and pay them off properly.

4. What is considered a decent amount of interest? More importantly, how do I negotiate with agents to "lower" interest when buying a car or a house? 

My mother is an A1 Gucci negotiator whether in the markets of our village in India or hunting for a car in Johns Creek. Those skills were certainly not passed on to either me or my sister.

5. What the heck is APR? 

No seriously. What?

6. How can I build my credit? How can I avoid destroying my credit?

7. During a economic recession, how do I protect myself from the consequences? If I lose my job, what's the first thing I should do to avoid going through a downward spiral?

I can tell you all about the 1930's Great Depression, but ask me how people survived the Y2K scare of 2001 or the 2007 financial recession, not a clue. If it weren't for my parents' advice, I would be living under a rock.

8. Time management. There should have been a time management course. 

Procrastination is the enemy of all students, young or old.

9. Survival skills? If I'm stranded on an island, what's the best way to find fresh water? How do I perform CPR? What's the best way to avoid infections on open wounds? How long can I survive without food? 

No, but ask me what familia humans derive from, I gotchu. Answer? Hominidae. Thanks biology.

10. How do you respectfully challenge authority? This includes asking for a raise...

11. What do I need to keep an eye out for when signing any contract whether job, bank, insurance, etc? 

Let's be honest. I never read the "Terms & Agreements" section when creating my Facebook or Instagram account, and neither did you.

12. .... How to change a tire? Forget that. How do I jumpstart a car? 

How do you even choose the right tires? Which wires go where when I jumpstart a car?

13. How to decide which insurance plan is best for me? How do I compare insurance plans, and what makes one better than the other?

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