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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Schools skip valuable lessons

Photo credit: Grant Garnsey

We spend almost a quarter of our lives in school. As early as 3, some people enter preschool, by 4 we all start kindergarten. Then we go from elementary school, to middle school, to high school, to college. A minimum of 17 years of our lives are spent in the school system practicing academics to prepare us for the future.

Throughout my younger years in school I was taught the basics of important subjects that would be practiced in day-to-day life. Some of these include reading, writing, math, theories of evolution and world history. After graduating from high school I felt knowledgeable about the past, present and potential future. I was taught the skills needed to communicate independently.

Now I am a senior in college approaching graduation. College is the time people choose the career path they want to pursue. We pick a particular subject or major to focus the majority of our credits on. After graduating, we are left with a degree and expected to implement all that we learned in our day-to-day adult lives and careers.

I am currently in my 17th year of school. I have chosen to major in journalism with a double emphasis in public relations and news, as well as acquire a minor in gender and sexuality studies. I am confident I can accurately structure an essay or edit an article. I know my studies have fully prepared me to enter the adult world and maintain a job in the journalism or communications field.

But isn’t there more to life than the basic education and major you’ve studied?

I think that high school or college curricula would benefit by adding elective classes that focused on life after school. There is so much the basic required courses can’t teach us, yet we need different basic knowledge just to get by in the real world. Yes I know y=mx+b or the elements on a periodic table. Even if I didn’t know that required knowledge I would be able to look it up, and I wouldn’t be penalized for not knowing it off the top of my head. I remember my teachers saying you won’t always have a calculator or computer to look things up. Oh, really? Because now we have these things called smartphones that know absolutely everything.

I’ve been in school for 17 years. 17 years is the equivalent of about 886 weeks or 6,205 days. Have the 17 years I’ve devoted to learning and preparing for the adult independent lifestyle really been efficient enough?

For me, the answer is no. Sure I feel like I have received a good education. Sure I know the basics of communicating, which is reading and writing. Sure I can get by with the minimum math, science and history knowledge. I am academically prepared. But am I really life prepared?

In the 17 years I have spent in school, the focus has been purely academic. Only a few electives in college have focused more on social skills. I wish that schools also focused on life skills to help mature and prepare us to transition from dependent students to independent adults.

Perhaps more time should be spent teaching us the things we will practice in everyday situations as an adult. I wish there were electives that taught us how taxes work and when to pay them. Or classes about the importance of building credit and maintaining good credit. Or even more simple, how to change a tire and check your oil. Classes about safety. Classes telling you how much housing, utilities, groceries or car loans cost on average. Classes I could benefit from every day.

So now that I’m a senior approaching graduation, I am scrambling to learn the basic life skills I’ll need in order to get by. With little to no help from my 17-year education, I owe most of my life skills to my mom, Google and Siri. Thanks.

Julie Ramos can be reached at [email protected] or @julie_ramoss on Twitter.

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