Why High Schools Should Require Life Skills Courses

Why High Schools Should Require Life Skills Courses

What students can gain by learning practical skills before going to college.

Several years ago, as I finished my final year of high school, I felt nervous about going to college in another state. Even though my parents made a point to teach us skills for living away from home, and despite my desire to get to college and start my adult life, worries nagged at me.

How would I do taxes? How could I get a good job and write a good resume? How long would my groceries stay fresh? How would I make a successful budget? What would I do if something broke or needed to be fixed? How would I manage my time and stress?

These important questions – things everyone should know how to do to be a successful adult – were completely glazed over in every high school class I took. Sure, I spent years learning about every ancient Chinese dynasty and memorizing the quadratic formula (both very useful as an English major, let me tell you), but no one bothered to create or require a comprehensive life skills course to prepare students for any of their future life paths.

In my high school and many others, some life skills classes, such as nutrition and cooking, car repair and personal finance, existed, but they were very specialized and not required to graduate. With the number of classes each student was required to take, very little space was left to add five separate classes just to understand how to live alone.

As far as I can tell, very few schools in the U.S. offer broad skills classes that would teach a little of each subject – basic repairs, finance, job skills, time management, cooking, stress relief and frankly, common sense. Certainly, even fewer schools require students to take these types of courses.

I completely understand that the main focus of every high school is to prepare their students for college and/or gainful employment. This leads to an intense focus on rigorous academics, testing and college-prep courses. All of these helped me when I was applying to college and, later on, once I started college.

However, high schools completely overlook the fact that their students will go to college academically equipped but far from socially, financially and emotionally equipped to handle the real life challenges of adult life. Academic success is a huge factor when preparing to enter the job market after college, but no recently independent adult can have a prosperous and fruitful life without also knowing how to get the job they've been preparing for, how to pay for the apartment they need or how to file the taxes that'll come along with their dream job.

It is past time for high schools to incorporate comprehensive life skills courses into their curriculum. Our generation has the ability to impact the future in an incredible way. But, until we are equipped with strong foundations of social, mental and practical skills, we can't be logically expected to enter adulthood and make the difference we have the potential to make.

Cover Image Credit: Pictrsearch

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If You And Your Friends' College Majors Were Ben And Jerry's Flavors

Business majors are all about the green dough. The road is not easily paved. There is always a crunch.

Everyone loves a delicious pint of Ben and Jerry's Ice cream. Each flavor is unique and has its own character. These flavors can definitely describe the various majors you will find on every campus.

1. Coffee, Coffee, Buzzbuzzbuzz - Theater majors

Coffee ice cream can definitely give you a little pep in your step; however, a pint of this ice cream is loaded with much more caffeine. Loaded with delectable espresso bean fudge, this coffee based ice cream can describe the amount of energy theater majors hold within them.

2. The Tonight Dough - Film and television production majors

The Tonight Dough was created by Jimmy Fallon, host of The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon. According to a film major, “Jimmy Fallon = film and television production.” The Tonight Show includes highly professional work of filming live material, therefore this ice cream best represents film and television production majors

3. Salted Caramel Core - Dance majors

Dance majors can relate to eating a pint of the Salted Caramel Core Ice Cream. You begin to indulge in a refreshing sweet cream base with enjoyable blonde brownies — until you get hit with the core. The caramel core is difficult to eat, yet it is so enjoyable. Dance majors begin every week with a refreshing, positive attitude. When the end of each week comes, they are exhausted yet still love to dance so they push through the hard work.

4. Pistachio Pistachio - Business majors

Business majors are all about the green dough. The road is not easily paved. There is always a crunch. Business majors do not have it easy; they take difficult courses in many subjects and study for long hours at the end of the day.

5. Chocolate Therapy - Any majors in the medical field

Any major in the medical field goes through countless days of studying, difficult classes, and practicing on innocent subjects; these students barely experience a good night’s sleep. All they want at the end of the day is chocolate because this treat solves all problems. Majors in the medical field need a little chocolate therapy at the end of every day.

6. Peanut Butter World - Psychology

You must dig in deep to this pint of ice cream to find the really good stuff. The peanut butter chunks lie in between the thick chocolate ice cream. Likewise, psychology majors always must dig deep into a human to learn all about them.

7. Strawberry Cheesecake - Communications

Communications majors are typically known to always be pleasant with pep. These students are personable and sweet, just like Strawberry Cheesecake. Shining with a pink shade, this flavor contains nothing but brightness and sweetness.

Go ahead and indulge in your favorite pint of ice cream. How could you resist? Who doesn't love Ben and Jerry's?!?

Cover Image Credit: @benandjerrys / Instagram

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The Weeks Before Finals, As Told By The Stages Of Grief

I'm pretty sure there is a connection between school and death now!

Everyone has been told about the Five Stages of Grief at one time or another in their life, and while typically applied when mourning the loss of a loved one, I have found they are also applicable to the weeks leading up to the notorious dead week and finals week.

Week 1 - Denial

At this point, you've been home for a week successfully avoiding all responsibility while reminiscing about the beach or whatever exotic place you ventured to over break. However one week down, one week closer to dead week, a whole lot of anger starts to take over. You're angry that you procrastinated so hard, that you're going to continue procrastinating (because lets be real there's still time to waste), and you're angry that your teachers keep piling up the workload when there are so many other ~better~ things to do in the little spare time you do have. I wish I could say it gets better from here, but it's always darkest before the dawn.

Week 2 - Anger

This is the week you get mad at your teachers, who seem to pile on as much extra busy work at possible. Maybe you get mad at your roommate(s) because you're over sharing a confined space. It's possible you're even mad at yourself because you know this road you are on will not end well.

No matter what the reason, you're going to get frustrated on top of the stress and probably anxiety you feel. Deep breaths, head down. You got this.

Week 3 - Bargaining

So I'm gonna loosely redefine this for y'all as basically that "Oh sh*t" period when you've snapped back into reality only to realize how far down the rabbit hole you've fallen. You feel like the only thing to do is scramble on over to office hours to beg for any extra credit your prof is willing to give you- if they're willing to give you any at all.

You might also use this week to pray to whatever God, gods, role model, or anything in between to help you get the job done because at this point the future is very dim.

Week 4- Depression

Now don't get me wrong, I am not making light of depression here but feeling completely overwhelmed by the task at hand can definitely bring you down and have you feeling the blues. Week 4 is when this sadness is probably going to hit you, you might even start to realize that *gasp* you'll actually need to begin studying sometime within the next 5 minutes to get ready for the last few weeks of school! The good news is everyone else is feeling just as down and overwhelmed as you are (and if they aren't then PLEASE share your secret with us).

Week 5 - Acceptance

Ah, finally. The light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps for you, this is dead week, or sooner, or maybe the week of finals. Either way, you've finally realized that you'll just have to buckle down and study or take the L (I guess in this case it's the F though).

Good luck to any and everyone preparing for final exams, and remember, the end is near my friends! Summer is coming!
Cover Image Credit: Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

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