Educated and totally unprepared for the real world

Illustration by Darian Maroney

I feel like I’m standing on a ledge. Behind me is the realm of school, and in front of me is the real world.

There’s no parachute or gear — just the deep, terrifying abyss in front of me. I feel completely unprepared for what’s to come.

I’ve been in school for 17 years now. That means for about 80 percent of my life I’ve been a student. This doesn’t include the first four years of my life which, of course, also had a lot of learning involved.

Even though I’m tired of tests, papers and hundred-page readings, I’ve actually enjoyed school and learning new things.

From the basics of math — although this can be argued — to gender roles in society to how to analyze classic texts, I’ve learned a lot through my years in school.

But of all the education I’ve received, it seems I’ve gained nothing in the category of practical knowledge. No real-life education about being an adult and living in the real world.

It seems some of the only real-world skills I’ve gained include how to bullshit my way through assignments and expertise in navigating the Internet.

There are so many things I should know but am still clueless about. For instance:

  • Taxes — pretty much everything and anything about taxes

  • Buying cars

  • Dealing with and managing credit

  • Having and starting a savings account

  • When to start seeing “adult” doctors

  • Balancing finances and expenses

  • Best places for certain careers

  • Applying for jobs, including resumes, cover letters, etc.

I’m sure there is more. But without practical knowledge, I’m not even sure I know what I’m missing.

I guess parents are supposed to teach kids all of this, but I feel like they never do.

I wish there was some class in college that would prepare students for the basic necessities of life.

Students would come in every week and learn a new life skill.

This week: How to cook simple, healthy meals that even a child couldn’t mess up.

But then I think, would this really be helpful? Would anyone actually learn anything by sitting in a class, theorizing?

Would anyone actually want to have a test on something like this or write a paper about the seven steps involved in changing a tire? Probably not.

I guess, like anything, the only way to learn how to do any of this stuff is to just do it.

Take a leap of faith off that cliff and into the dark unknown.

Allison Galbreath can be reached at [email protected] or @agalbreath19 on Twitter.