4 Things High School Didn’t Teach Me, But Should Have

As a high school senior getting ready to graduate, I’m overcome with conflicting emotions. On the one hand, I feel ready to graduate high school, having experienced so many key teenage moments. On the other hand, I’m a little overwhelmed with all the responsibilities that come with being an independent adult.

Thinking back to my four years of high school, there’s not that much that prepared me for “the real world.” And now that I’m about to go out on my own, I can think of a whole list of things I wish I would have learned compared to, say, pre-calculus or English lit.

Here are just a few life skills I wish I had learned in high school:

1. Money management and budgeting

I’ll be moving out this summer, which means I’ll have to pay for things on my own like rent, bills, groceries, etc. How am I supposed to save money and pay for it all without going broke?

I’m realizing just how important it is to manage my finances and keep track of where my money is going. That way, I can stay organized to not only pay for the necessities, but also budget for fun stuff.

2. Doing taxes

A lot of kids have jobs while they’re still in high school, so doesn’t it make sense for schools to teach us how to file taxes? From personal deductions to whether or not we even make enough to file, we’re all just so confused.

And on top of all of that, we could actually be getting money back, if we know what we’re doing! So instead of forcing me to figure it all out on my own, why not teach me something I’m legally obligated to do?

3. Looking for a place to live

I mean, sure, I would save a lot of money by staying home, but if I want to feel independent, moving out is one way to start. But this new step only brings more questions than answers. Like, what percentage of my check goes to rent? Where do you search for housing?

4. Finding and interviewing for a job

I need to be able to support myself, on my own. All those bills and rent aren’t going to pay themselves.

But aside from Craigslist and walking into a place with a “hiring” sign on the window, where can I find job openings? How do I apply for a job? How do I write a resume? If teachers could have taken some time to teach students how to search and apply for a job, it would be one less thing I have to worry about.

High school needs to be more than just getting students ready for college academically. It needs to provide students with some kind of road map for how to survive on our own–independently from our parents. Right now, we’re just stuck with countless google searches to answer our endless list of questions.

So if there are any high school teachers out there reading this: consider taking some time away from the AP test prep to pass on some real skills to your students. Until then, I guess Gen-Zers will have YouTube.

Jobstacles: For Teens, Soft Skills Are Hard Skills

Three years ago, when Christian Hernandez was 16 years old, he recorded a joke voicemail greeting. It starts off with, “Hello. Hey! Uh, can’t understand you.” It’s meant to trick the caller into thinking it’s Hernandez on the phone. Eventually, callers hear, “Ha, voicemail! You know what to do stupid.” Now, at 19, Hernandez is looking for a job, and the greeting which started off as a joke for friends is now a liability.

Listen Now
Listen Now