Can you recall the days of sitting in class reading Shakespeare and Catcher in the Rye? Back when you were in high school, your biggest concern was most likely which of your homework assignments was easiest enough to compete first. Each year schools across the country send millions of students out into the “real world” to find their way, adjust to life outside the high school bubble, and make a name for themselves. Recently I conducted an online study survey where I asked millennials if they felt the school system adequately prepared them for life. A whopping 93.3% of respondants replied with a big fat NO.
According to an article written on The Huffington Post titled, “Does the High School Curriculum in the U.S. Actually Prepare Students for the Real World? by Oliver Harte the main premise in United States schools revolve around teachers giving us information which we then synthesize and memorize. On the other hand if you may recall that the basic premise of United States schooling is to excel at subjects that seem far removed from everyday life.
My own experience with the education system is one that spans over many years. I studied for a degree in secondary education and I have worked in a variety of schools over the past few years where I have witnessed first hand how little the school system actually prepares its students for the “real world.”
Here are 12 things I wish the school system had taught me about the “real world.”
In life you will need to learn how to manage your money, save, and plan your financial future
It’s no secret that most people even well into adulthood have difficulty managing their finances. In a survey I conducted with today’s millennials an overwhelming majority of respondents felt they had the least knowledge when it came to money management, financial planning, budgeting, and taxes. I, like most people, have been learning as I go. In most cases, I try my best when it comes to budgeting however, at times I admit I struggle like most people when it comes to staying on target. In the U.S we are so inclined to spend money on things like entertainment and clothing, that the thought of saving and budgeting becomes an afterthought. While some naysayers will say that the school system now has classes such as economics and business, there still is an overwhelming lack of information when it comes to managing your own day to day finances from payday and beyond.
College is not the only option for success anymore
We now live in a digital age where people are creating careers on the internet. From YouTubers, to bloggers, to online consultants, to Instagram models and so on, people are finding ways to hone in on their talents to create jobs online that combine passion and monetization. When I was in school the idea that you could only be successful by going to college is now becoming something of the past. College tuitions are certainly not decreasing anytime soon here in the United States. With these rising costs, college is becoming less and less attractive to students who feel they cannot afford it. Nowadays with so many online hustlers showing people how to make real money online, explaining to your children that the only way you can be successful by going to college will soon become a dying trend.
If you want a successful relationship, you will need to put in the work
Okay, yes we have sex education in schools but what about relationship 101? One thing you may never see in your high school textbook is how to cultivate a successful relationship. What if perhaps schools taught students how to listen to their partner more, how to care for their partner better or how to be supportive to their partner when he or she is going through a rough patch? Better yet, why isn’t there a class where men are studying women and women are studying men? This kind of education could send people out into the world with a better understanding of how the opposite sex functions, thinks, lives, breathes and moves. This in turn could potentially lead to a more successful union and a lower divorce rate.
There will never be enough time in the day
Whether you’re working a 9-5 or simply just managing a household, it will feel as if there is never enough time in the day. One of my effective methods for challenging this notion has been to start scheduling my days and make time for the things I want to do. The school system runs in increments of usually 45 minute class periods and everything is jammed into a 7 hour day. In real life, your new schedule becomes work and lunch jammed into an 8+ hour period of the day. It doesn’t stop there, because you must factor in travel time, getting yourself ready, picking up children, dropping off children, cooking, eating, sleeping, working out, spending time with loved ones, driving, etc.
You Should Never Have Just One Source of Income
The school system never teaches you that you should have more than one job. Most people feel compelled to have two or sometimes three jobs when their pockets really call for it. In reality, having more than one job is one of the smartest things you can do. If one doesn’t work out or you hate it so much you need to quit, you have something else to fall back on. There are also many opportunities to earn money online as well. You can do things like sell on Etsy like I do, check out my shop here, sell an E-book, sell t-shirts, sell on Ebay or work as a virtual assistant.
How to Fill Out a W-4 form
Okay, I’ve mastered it by now but seriously, why was this not taught in homeroom?
Not Everyone Will Like You
The harsh reality is that sometimes no matter how much of a great person you feel you are, there will be people you encounter who do not care for you. Whether it be a boss or a co-worker in the real world you just have to do what you need to do and not worry about what others think of you.
Debt is Evil, Beware!
Student loan debt, credit card debt, car debt, you name it! Because you weren’t taught in school how to manage your money, debt should come as no surprise as another lesson never taught. Most Americans have on average 3-4 credit cards. This shiny plastic can either help you out in a severe bind or lock you into a life of indentured servitude of payments and interest fees. Getting into debt is certainly easy but getting out is much harder. Today we’re lucky enough to have great tools to aid us in debt recovery. I do wish however that the school system focused more on helping people prevent getting into debt in the first place.
You Should Look After Your Mental Health just as much as your physical Health
In society, not enough attention is placed on making sure your mental health is taken care of as much as your physical health is. We always see 10 ways to get the hottest beach body by summer but why so rarely do we see 10 ways to overcome anxiety? In the real world stress and life pressures can often times overwhelm us and we need to learn coping mechanisms that can help us live better and healthier lives. The school system does not teach you that if your mind isn’t right, your life won’t be right and this is a huge missing factor when sending individuals out into the world. The mental health of a people at large should be a major concern in any country to ensure the safety and security of a nation and its people.
You Will Need Life Insurance
A little known fact; in life you will need life insurance! It is something most of us do not want to think about but in reality we are all mortal creatures and we need to make sure our loved ones are taken care of in the event of our demise.
You Can Create Your Own Path
If they say life is what you make it then why not forge your own path to greatness? Life doesn’t have to follow a mold even if your teacher told you that is the way things are. There are people who do amazing things like travel the world to teach and help others or join national organizations to help starving children and misplaced people all over the world. Pick something you stand for and go after it. Never feel you have to submit to a cookie cutter existence. Map out the life that works for you and go after it!
Until next time….