Technology today is changing at an alarming rate, so it’s understandable to lag behind when new advancements occur every year. But there are many other real life skills that young people aren’t being taught. We all know how to use a graphing calculator and a laptop, but do we know how to code apps or set up our finances?
The importance of real life skills
Perhaps some skills aren’t meant to be taught in a high school classroom. But if that’s the case, where should we learn these lessons?
Emotional stability is arguably a characteristic that should be learned from a support system at home or in high school from a counselor, yet many millennials still lack sufficient coping skills.
Health classes offer an array of education on physical health but not mental health. We are taught about our changing bodies, how to be healthy, and sexual health (for some), but denied vital education about our changing mental states.
For many young people, starting off in the real world can be a difficult adjustment emotionally. Without solid coping skills, it can be difficult to handle stressful transitions on their own. And while many college campuses and health insurance plans offer mental health services, if you’re not familiar with mental health treatments you won’t use them.
With suicide being the third leading cause of death for ages 10-14 and second among ages 15-34, mental health should be more of a priority.
For being a generation raised on technology, there are many tech skills that millennials should have been taught in high school. Budgetary issues aside, our education system failed to keep us on the forefront of technology due to the speed at which technology changed and the lack of teacher training necessary to keep updated.
Granted, many schools are getting better. STEM education and a push for education rooted in technology is much more prominent than it once was. With the high demand for STEM jobs, it’s vitally important that young people have an interest and opportunity to learn about computer science.
For many of us, technology education before college was limited to learning how to type, using Microsoft programs, and doing research on the internet. Committing to a computer science degree was unlikely if we weren’t certain we’d like the field.
After all, how does a student know they enjoy coding if they have never tried it?
Today, advanced tech skills are in high demand and should be taught early so students can gain an interest in them before college. Luckily, more high school programs are now filling this education gap.
Prep After Graduation
What happens after high school graduation is a little different for everyone. Some go to college, some go to vocational training, and some jump into the workforce. For many, however, which path to choose after high school graduation can be confusing.
College prep classes are much more common in high schools today and provide a great resource for students. But there is more to college than applying, taking the SAT, and signing up for college courses. Prospective students need help with the FAFSA, financial budgeting, scholarships, grant information, etc.
The college enrollment process alone is extremely confusing and it’s easy to make mistakes that can affect you for years. Keeping student debt low is also advisable, but many students aren’t taught how to do this.
For millennials entering the workforce, skills like writing a resume, writing cover letters, and filling out job applications aren’t taught either. It would be beneficial for high school students to learn how to conduct a job search, what to do in a job interview, and the basic skills and etiquette needed in the workplace.
Unfortunately, real life skills fall short at the high school level and many of us were thrown into confusing, post-high school decisions without a clue where to go next.
Managing personal finances is another missing piece in what millennials were taught. While one could argue these are real life skills that should be taught at home, managing finances is a big part of life that is extremely difficult to grasp for some young people.
If we forget the year the Civil War was fought everything will probably be okay, but if we take out a credit card without an understanding of interest rates we can destroy our credit score for years.
Saving money, insurance, taxes, debt, credit cards, credit scores, buying a car, and buying a home are all aspects of being an adult that directly affect our livelihood yet they were never officially taught to us.
There are many financial changes happening in the U.S. that directly affect millennials today, yet many don’t understand the impact it will have. In recent years the age that you can stay on your parents insurance changed, it was realized that many people won’t receive social security benefits when they retire, and presidential candidates are discussing affordable education for everyone.
These are topical issues happening now and many millennials don’t know what to do with this information. If young people are taught real life skills to help their personal finances they would have the ability to keep their debt down, keep their credit at a healthy place, and be a more educated voter.
Education gaps are not exclusive to millennials. In nearly every generation young people have been missing something from their education. This is because it’s difficult for academia to keep up with big changes. As for now, many teachers and schools are working to improve their mental health programs, technology education, post-graduation preparation, and personal finance curriculum.
Millennials, however, will have to get their real life skills from another source.