As a college sophomore I've been doing some reflecting on things that I know and have learned in the past couple years, but I've also been doing a lot of thinking about what I wish I learned in high school. Don't get me wrong I had really great teachers in high school who were all knowledgeable on their subjects, but I wish there was solely a class that helped prepare you for life after high school and college.
1. I wish I learned what taxes are and how they work.
I've been working since I was 14 years old and I do not fully understand taxes. I know that since I was 14 the government takes something out of my paycheck, but I do not know what that money goes towards nor do I understand why I get some of that money back at the end of winter/beginning of spring. I also have not fully grasped the concept of filing my taxes in order to get money back. (Thanks Mom & Dad)
2. I wish I learned how to take out a loan, specifically one that won't put me into excessive debt.
I take out loans for college, but I do not understand the process. I know I had to sign something and my dad had to cosign, and there's money that I have to eventually pay back. I don't know how or when I have to pay back the money. I also know my dad didn't have me take out a certain loan because the interest starts the moment I take out the loan, not when I graduate, but again, I don't understand why or how that works.
3. I wish I learned how to plan and manage my finances.
As a college student who has multiple loans out, I feel like I should been sat in a classroom and explained how to budget my money. I have my own system on how I budget my money that I make from working in the summer, but I'm sure there are a lot of better ways I could be doing things. If I had been taught the importance of planning ahead with my money or that I should set aside some money for after college, since so many college graduates do not get a job right after college, I could have saved enough money to survive on my own for a few months while searching for a job.
4. I wish I learned how to apply for a credit card and really anything about credit.
My parents told me I should start working on my credit because right now I really don't have any. Excuse me, what's credit? Why do I need it? Does this refer to all those annoying commercials about checking my credit score?
5. I wish I learned basic home fix it skills.
I do not know how to fix a toilet. I do not know how to fix in holes in the wall. I do not know how to fix a leaky faucet. I do not know how to unclog a drain.
6. I wish I learned something about insurance.
I know people have insurance for certain things and when something happens such as a car accident, people pray that their insurance will cover it. I know when people are applying for jobs they want to know what the health insurance policy is or if they have dental insurance What is a deductible? If my job doesn't cover my dental insurance how do I get?
7. I wish I learned about tipping etiquette.
This one is more for my classmates and other people I have witnessed at college and out at restaurants. I learned about this because my main source of income in the summer is tips. As a waitress I know how important tipping is to servers, bartenders, and any other worker who relies heavily on tips. I see so many people who don't understand tipping etiquette, or maybe they just don't care, but I feel as though this is something everyone should know.
8. I wish I learned how to rent an apartment and set up utilities.
This coincides with budgeting, you may think the apartment is $500 a month and think "Oh thats not too bad" but you forgot to account for things such as water or electricity or internet. I don't really understand leases or how to negotiate well for contracts and I wish I would've learned how to do that.
9. I wish I learned more about basic car maintenance.
When I was in 11th grade I changed one tire for one class, with the help of four other people. So you could argue that I learned how to change a tire, but four years later I definitely would not have any idea how to start. Luckily for me, my dad has stepped in a lot and I know how to check my oil and other things in the hood of my car. Luckily for my friends at school too because I'm usually the go to person when a light comes on in their car.
Even if some of these things are touched on in high school, I really believe students need more in depth and hands on experiences so when they're in college or at whatever point in their life, they can be dependent upon themselves. I guess for now I'll keep peppering my mom and dad with questions and hope they can answer all of them.