Do you ever feel like you are an adult but were not prepared for adulthood? Many students do. Once you hit college, all of a sudden you are choosing your own classes, signing up for loans or battling it out with financial aid. You never knew that school, was, in fact, a business, and free schooling is a luxury.
Aside from school, you are now expected to work and pay taxes and network to find a stable career. You are trying to figure out what a stable career is anyway. That dream you had when you were little of being a doctor now seems like a nightmare when you see how long and intense schooling is for that.
When you are a kid, all you care about is what "Powerpuff Girls" blanket and sippy cup you want for Christmas or whatever holiday you get gifts on. Or maybe not even on a holiday, your parents would spoil you with gifts. But now, all of a sudden, you are thrown into the fire of adulthood and expected to do just fine on your own.
At this age, some people don’t even have parents anymore to help them. Really, being unprepared is an understatement. Nobody really knows, honestly, what it takes to be a successful adult until they become adults. But is there a better way to educate children on how to survive adulthood?
I would start with teaching kids how to get along. Yes, there are many times in elementary school and junior high school you are put into groups with people you don’t like and are forced to work with them. However, it is not the same as teaching teamwork and how to work in a company. Many kids face bullying growing up and are not taught properly how to deal with it. Some kids who have parents that neglect them, or some other type of issue, become bullies and grow up to be resentful adults.
The kids that are bullied and don’t know how to properly stand up for themselves, grow into indecisive adults with low self-esteem. Now, if teamwork was taught properly and honestly, and we were told from day 1 that we need to learn how to network and how to work with people we don’t connect with, we could become more prepared for work as adults.
Another thing many people surprisingly still don’t know about, as adults, is basic health needs. If you are living in a dorm or even at home, and you don’t have proper meals with vegetables, meat, and other food groups and you just have snacks, you gain weight. But, it also can affect your performance at school or work. Health is taught growing up, but it is taught very generally. Once kids become adults and enter college without knowing how to take care of themselves, they often suffer.
Sex education should obviously not be taught right away to young kids, but whenever it is taught- for me it started in eighth grade and continued in tenth)- it should include something that teaches adults to value themselves. By this, I mean, putting your body first and being safe, taking all the tests with your partner to make sure safety is first. While some people DO teach that, they still don’t teach you- let’s say if you actually received a disease- how to go about asking for help without feeling shame. Instead, people play with fire and take their chances blindly. They also make it so awkward, since it is a taboo subject. This is partially why you grow up and are not fully GROWN.
Emotional intelligence should also be taught growing up. We need to know the difference between actual depression and just feeling sad about something. We need to know anxiety is real, and not just for when you are nervous to go up in front of the class. We need to know the proper way to handle a traumatic situation. By this age, many people have PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). Students and other adults should know how to help people who have it move forward, without making them feel different. Emotional intelligence can help in all aspects of your life.
Many situations in our lives, that we are forced into, help us grow. But if we are not forced to grow by life experience, we should be taught in classrooms. It is a tough life, but with some pointers, anyone can be successful.