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sarahhughes1996's avatar

What life skills do you wish you would have been taught in high school?

Asked by sarahhughes1996 (127 points ) December 6th, 2013

Ex: How to prepare a meal on a budget.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

37 Answers

BosM's avatar

Sure, but I wasn’t always a great listener in HS, so sometimes it was the student, not the teacher! Besides it’s been fun learning some of that stuff during the journey :) No regrets

johnpowell's avatar

I already knew the horrors of credit cards. I wish others were taught about it.

That iPod you got for 20 a month and are still paying for 5 years later cost you a lost.

talljasperman's avatar

How to handle rejection.

Blondesjon's avatar

How to answer questions in a non-committal manner.

Juels's avatar

How to marry well while you’re still young and hot.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Interview skills. Career planning.

chyna's avatar

How to maintain and balance a check book.

wildpotato's avatar

How to code!!!!
How to work on cars.

Coloma's avatar

How to spot an asshole before you married them. lol

2davidc8's avatar

Investing.

You don’t need a lot of money to start.

JLeslie's avatar

I wish I had had a class in communication and relationships. It could have been just part of another class, just 3 or 4 weeks of it would have been enough.

Somewhere kids should learn about compounding interest (I learned this very very young, my first grade teacher opened bank accounts for us, and although I didn’t fully understand the math then, I still knew I get money from my money). Learn about credit and what affects your credit. What you will need to rent an apartment or buy a house.

In Jr. High we had Home Ec, and I think everyone should take Home Ec, I can’t believe some schools don’t have it anymore. We all took it for a quarter, and then could take additional semester classes in sewing and cooking if we wanted to. The quarter long class touched on basic kitchen skills, cooking terms, actual cooking, safety issues in the kitchen, a little sewing, a little cleaning, using large and small appliance, etc.

In High School I took accounting. It was an elective, most students didn’t take it. Great class. We learned in a year what you would learn in a semester of College level. I left feeling I could be a bookkeeper at a company as long as the books were already set up. Also, we learned to do our own individual taxes, and little things like the proper way to write a check (from what I have seen a lot of people write them out incorrectly, but it doesn’t matter much). We also of course learned how to balance a checking account. We already had learn balance sheets, P&L statements, so it was more of the same mathematically. We learned how to find mistakes, like divisible by 9 means it is a transposition error, stuff like that. We also learned to use an adding machine, I guess everything is done on computers now.

MadMadMax's avatar

Civics should be a required course for graduation.

2davidc8's avatar

Sorry, too late to edit my earlier response. What I should have said is:

You don’t need a lot of money to start, but your great advantage in high school is that you have time on your side. Also see @JLeslie‘s comment about credit and compound interest.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

High School should have helped me identify my interests and my talents so I would have some idea of what I wanted to do with my life.

LornaLove's avatar

How to look after elderly parents
How to raise kids to be effective adults
How to stretch a buck
How to deal with major life challenges
How to debate with style
How to handle developmental life stages
How to make one’s own internal moral codes

talljasperman's avatar

How to choose a major in University.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@talljasperman I’m not really sure if that can be taught. What’s best for each student is highly individualized and only they know what’s important to them or what they’re interested in. Plus, few students in high school know exactly what they want to do with their lives. Most college students switch majors at least once because their interests changed or they realized they didn’t like their chosen field of study until they actually got into it. No class in high school will change that.

DWW25921's avatar

It would have been nice if someone explained exactly how credit cards worked to my naive young mind. The basics of banking and checking accounts would have been nice too. I’ve always been interested in History and Geography… Some core subject would have been nice. My school was about useless.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@DWW25921 Yes! A lesson or two on how credit works and how to build credit would’ve been really useful to me. I had no clue how important credit was until I needed it but couldn’t get it because I had no credit history.

ibstubro's avatar

Math.

I don’t mean basic, algebra and calculus. I mean give me play money and make me manage a checkbook. I could never connect numbers with my life.

hug_of_war's avatar

How crushing student loans can be
How to network
That careers aren’t some vague idea, you can’t just like the sound of something

mambo's avatar

I wish they would have taught me how to do taxes correctly.

Judi's avatar

I think I was up teachable in HS. I was just an angry hormonal mess.

Blueroses's avatar

All of the above are great answers (and definitely learn about credit and loans)

But, the only worthwhile life skill that even transcends finance, is truly become comfortable in your own skin. Stop worrying about what some people might think.

After the microcosm of highschool, there is no value in “fitting in”. Be yourself, silly, crazy, goofy, out there. Be you. No matter what you think of yourself, people out there will think you’re amazing.

Kropotkin's avatar

Gardening and food growing in general. How to keep and raise chickens. Some engineering and construction skills. Plumbing.

Unbroken's avatar

Good to have you back @Blueroses and great answer

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Personal financial planning for your whole life.

JLeslie's avatar

All of you who talk about how useless your schools were, were the classes literally not available, or you just didn’t take them? Most of the things I named I actually did learn in school if you notice, except for my very first sentence, but some of it was in elective classes so not all students learned those things.

@Judi I can empathasize with that. I could have learned much more if I had not been depressed, exhausted, and wanting to get of high school as fast as possible.

@ARE_you_kidding_me I like your answer. I think a class like that should have no grade attached to it. Take away making it feel like schoolwork. It ties in with what @talljasperman wrote, and I have often said I think high schools need to have more field trips to colleges and more guidance in applying to colleges. Maybe it could all be in a study hall type period, I took study hall sometimes to get my homework done at school and to rest. Days I had extre free time it would have been nice to have some guidance about the future. We had wood working and cosmetology (kids could take the state test and be licensed to work at a hair salon when they graduated) and we had automechanics to, and some kids worked as apprentices and had short school days. Those kids had a vocation they were interested in and could literally be employable in it when they left high school. Kids who are kind of all over the map, but smart and could do almost anything and have the opportunity to go to college I think often feel competely lost and going through the motions. I just went through the motions with my parents pushing me. I also didn’t take advantage of all the possibilities at my university, I just wanted to get done.

Smitha's avatar

Positive thinking and how to save and invest.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@JLeslie I, for one, didn’t find high school years useless at all. Yeah, it sucked, but that didn’t have anything to do with the classes offered or the school itself – it’s the other high schoolers that made it suck.

My high school offered a health sciences track, where kids could become CNAs, get their CPR certification, and learn about the medical field before entering college. I didn’t do that (if I had, perhaps I could’ve saved myself a few semesters of college), but I think that’s awesome. There was a similar track for people interested in IT. Some high schools don’t have these options and, in the ones that do, not a lot of students are forward-thinking enough to participate. Too many people just do what they have to in order to get through school instead of taking advantage of the opportunities available to them, and later they bitch that they didn’t learn anything useful in high school. With some people, it’s always someone else’s fault.

DominicX's avatar

A lot of people are mentioning financial things—it’s interesting that so many parents don’t seem to be willing to talk about it with their kids…

I’m not saying the schools shouldn’t cover it; it would help a lot of people. But it seems to me many parents are capable of teaching their kids about it, but they don’t.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@DominicX Some parents are as clueless about finances as their children.

JLeslie's avatar

@livelaughlove21 In my experience most public school systems that I know of have a decent choice of electives for students to explore, and various tracks for students like the sciences, some vocational, etc. Sometimes a student has to transfer to another high school in the district to pursue a particular track. But, it does vary around the country, the answers here have me wondering how much it does actually vary.

@DominicX I was thinking the same thing, where are the parents? Some parents suck themselves at financial things. I think like sex, money is a taboo subject in some families. Maybe that is part of it? Your family has money, and so your parents probably talk about money. As I get older I see that people with more money tend to share how they made their money, and how they hold onto their money, more than those who struggle with money. Sometimes it is perceived as people with money only caring about money, an incorrect accusation and assumption. I definitely think the basics should be taught in school.

hug_of_war's avatar

My parents are quite good with money and I did learn good habits from them but I didn’t learn enough things explicitly. I had no idea of the value of that training either because I had no bills or true responsibilities. Money was for leisure. It was an abstraction. I’m not sure formal schooling would be a complete fix but it would be a start.

cookieman's avatar

Another vote for personal finance. At 42, I’m just now getting pretty good at it.

And yes, my parents sucked at it as well.

meenasky's avatar

Dealing with complicated people in a right way. I mean, you can be smart and polite and well-behaved but some people are just trying to piss you off on purpose and you don’t even know how to react in most of the cases.

emjay's avatar

@ibstubro, when I was a kid my parents bought us toy check books and kept all out money and when we wanted to buy something we had to write them a check (properly, and then balance the checkbook…) And then they would pay for the item and remove the funds from our ‘accounts’.

Good lessons… My parents were both accountants, go figure, lol.

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