5 Things I Wish School Prepared Me For
Now, it’s probably no surprise to anyone that I’m not a big fan of school.
More specifically, high school. (Even college is a bit iffy to me but even I can admit it has its place and usefulness.)
Now, I’m going to save my pretty crappy high school experience for another blog post as that one is a lot more… solemn, then this one. So, to not be the biggest downer on this planet, I’ll keep that separate. However, that being said, there’s still a lot of issues I have with high school. Very specifically, my high school as I know there will be plenty of people who will say that my experience was not their own, which I’m glad, honestly.
However, this post is about my own feelings about schooling. More specifically, the ‘5 Things I Wish School Prepared Me For’.
Let’s just jump right into it!
Finding a Job:
Now, I feel it’s no surprise that high school has a definite leaning/preference for college. So many of my teachers talked about preparing you for college, tips about how to deal with college, and the dreaded ‘Do you think your college professors will let you get away with that?’ lecture teachers gave out for literally everything, it feels like.
With me, for those who don’t know, I decided that I was 100% not going to college towards the end of my Sophomore year. To me, it just became clear that there was nothing I had an interest in studying in college and that I wanted to do writing. Something I actually had a passion for, ya know?
However, my high school was generally pretty lacking for people like me who weren’t going to college and who would need to figure out the ‘Big Bad World’ on their own rather than go to college and let that be the biggest thing you have to worry about. So, when I graduated, I had to figure that stuff out with my mom, and all it did was allow me to get a part-time job at Party City… yay.
But, an actual foot in the door for writing? No idea where to even start. It would’ve been nice if my teachers at least mentioned something to all of us who weren’t going to college. Great articles to read, suggestions on sites to go to in order to find work, support — something, honestly. This is something that still annoys me to this day.
I have no idea how taxes work. Really, not even the slightest idea. And perhaps I could be fair and say that a lot of adults don’t know how taxes work either, which is why they tend to get/pay someone else to do it for them. However, maybe if we were taught how to do taxes in school, this could get nipped into bud quicker and there wouldn’t be full-grown adults who haven’t a single clue as to how it works.
No shade to them, of course, my mom doesn’t even know how it really works. I just think it’s something that should really be talked about more in your normal k-12 learning. Especially considering how important they are and how much depends on you doing them correctly. I got my first W2 form in the mail a month or so ago and I’m still waiting to see what I’m gonna do about that. (Luckily, my mom is a precious human being who’s going to help me get them sorted out but still) I don’t know, I just think it’s something that could be really helpful.
How to Budget:
Now, assuming you’ve figured out how to get a job and how to do your taxes so you won’t get in trouble, the big thing for almost everyone is budgeting. Literally, the only reason I’m any good at managing a budget and money, in general, is because of me having apps on my phone for it, and doing my own research. That’s it. My school taught me literally nothing about it. Some of these categories can work for more than high-school and include things like middle and even elementary school.
But, this one? I’m specifically aiming it at high-school which is a time in which you can start looking into an actual part-time job.
I never got a part-time job in school, as I was more focused on passing my classes and enjoying every second I had outside of school. And when I was doing online classes for my last two years, I probably should’ve gotten a part-time job looking back, however, I was pretty high off of all of the free time I had. It was pretty awesome, I must say.
But, when I was in school, I knew kids who had part-time jobs. Always coming to school with their Starbucks, driving out to get food during lunch, wearing all these cute clothes and the shoes. Oh dear, the shoes. Every time a new shoe came out, you bet they had it. And I realize now, especially having talked to a few of them, that they weren’t saving money. The concept was almost foreign.
Having money and not spending it? How odd. And some people may say that it’s the parent’s job or that teens shouldn’t be worrying about saving money. Well, teens are expected to go to college for however many years to study a subject that’ll define the rest of their life career-wise so I think teaching these ‘teens’ basic budgeting skills would probably be useful, even if it is from a ‘young’ age.
Change is Okay:
Now, this is partly a way to piggyback off of the last subject. As the last paragraph said, teens are expected to have their stuff together and start looking into colleges and figuring out what they want to study. The way it’s described is that you figure out what you wanna do with your life, look at which college you wanna go to (hoping you have scholarships all the while), and then do it. You finish out your years, get your degree, and then boom, your job is in your hands practically.
However, something that never gets talked is: What if you change your mind? What if you go into college wanting to study literature but then either in the beginning or halfway through, you either lose passion for it or it becomes something you realize you really have no interest in. The thing is, you could always study something else, it isn’t the complete end of the world. Kinda sucky? Yep. But, it’s not the end of the world.
However, you would’ve never even thought it to be an option and might drop out of college flat out. (Which I’ll get to, by the way.) That’s why I wish there was more of a theme of choice in high school, that it didn’t feel like this one decision was the end all — be all of your life. That sometimes things change and that’s okay.
Sometimes College Isn’t for You: (Told you I’d get to it)
Now, I know plenty of people who were going to college because their parents were making them. They had nothing they were interested in learning but their parents made them do it. Or, they were at risk of getting kicked out of their house as soon as they graduated so they had no choice but to go to college.
Or, there are the people who wanted to go to college to study this thing they were interested in, only to then realize that they… didn’t like it. Whether it be because the school they went to had sucky teachers, they grew to dislike their major, the college atmosphere made them uncomfortable or, maybe they just weren’t a college person. Maybe they developed an interest in something else they wanted to do outside of college — which happens, by the way!
But, these people may feel like they need to stay in college because they’re already spending so much money to be there or maybe because they’re afraid their parents will be disappointed in them if they even thought to change what they’re studying, not to mention how they’d feel if they dropped out altogether.
And to me, that’s the biggest problem. Being forced to go to college. If you want to go to college, that’s awesome! I’m really rooting for you and I wish you success. And if you don’t want to go to college and want to do something else, I am all about that too! As someone who didn’t go to college myself, I am right there with you!
However, when you don’t want to college and are being forced to? I have a problem with that.
It’s easy to make someone go to college and expect them to graduate and just grin and bare it. But, considering you aren’t the one having to actually go to class and do the work for however many years, I feel like you shouldn’t have the final say, just being honest. Of course, you can want your child to go to college, that’s fine, you want what you perceive to be the best for them. But, what does the teen want to do?
What do I think is the best course of action? Let them figure it out.
If they decide they want to college at 21 after working for a couple of years and doing their thing, awesome! At least they made the decision that they want to go.
If they decide they want to stick with the workforce or maybe go to a trade school or something like that, awesome. They made their own decision.
If they go to college only to decide in their freshman year that they want to switch majors, let them! It’ll make them happier and more successful in the long run.
If they go to college only to decide in their freshman year that college isn’t for them, support them. It’s never an easy decision to drop out, but the last thing they need is to have someone yelling at them for making this decision and adding even more weight onto their shoulders. Talk with them instead, and let them figure out if that’s what they really wanna do and then support them along the way.
Ahem, sorry to get a bit ramble-y. I apparently have a lot of pent-up feelings on college as a whole that I haven’t had a chance to explore.
Bonus — Investing:
Now, this is pretty short and sweet but pretty darn important. Investing exists. It does. Yet, so many people my age and younger don’t even know what it is or see it as this weird thing a bunch of businessmen in suits do. However, investing to me is in the same wheelhouse as saving money and budgeting, a no brainer but something that gets pushed to the side or that’s never even remotely discussed.
For me? I use the app Acorns which is the easiest way to get into investing. It invest spare change for me plus I have like $5 coming out monthly which may not seem like a lot overall but eh, it adds up if you use your debit card a lot (I love online shopping and Starbucks is awesome). Plus, there are so many other apps that make investing really easy and I just think they should be discussed more — which ties into my overall feelings in this post.
There are so many options out there for what you can do (plus the tools that can help you), but they are never talked about. When I was in school, there was such an emphasis on college but literally nothing else. And while this may not be the case for others, it was the case for me and for other people as I’ve seen. And that’s not okay. The world isn’t made of just one option, there are so many different paths you can take and that’s what makes life awesome. There are so many things you can do.
This is why it annoys me so much that so many years of your underage/adolescent years are spent with college being jammed into your brain. (Once again, at least in the schools I went to) But then, when you graduate and are out and about in the real world, you realize just how much of it you weren’t prepared for. And that’s insane because that’s what school should be for: Preparing you for the world. (I could go into detail about how useless so many classes are for when you’re an adult but I think my feelings are pretty obvious.)
But yes, these are the ‘5 Things I Wish School Prepared Me For’ + a bonus, just for fun! I’m sure more things could be added to this list if I thought about it for a bit more but these are the ones that have been on my mind the most and that I felt needed to be discussed or at least talked about.
I hope this gave some people validation and other people something to think about!