In a time when adulting is considered one of the hardest skills for young adults to master, we have to ask ourselves if we are truly prepared by our education to join the workforce and function in society. We have all seen the memes about how high school did not prepare us for paying taxes or balancing a checkbook and felt ourselves relating to them on a spiritual level, but who is at fault for this lack of knowledge among young adults today? Whose job is it to teach us how to pay taxes, set up a bank account, use credit cards, work a job, get along with coworkers, and feed ourselves?
There are more skills involved in working a job than just the knowledge obtained from our college courses. College courses do not usually focus on people skills, compassion, emotional intelligence, or preparedness. High school does not aim to teach these things either. The only thing that I believe can teach that is lived experience.
The only person who determines how much life you live is you. Nobody can teach these skills that are so integral to working any job – they have to be learned from experience. With these skills, no lecture or course can prepare you for joining the workforce. As a child, it is up to parents to instill certain values in their children and to teach them certain skills.
Some skills can be taught. Problem solving can be taught by focusing on critical thinking skills. The knowledge required to be a chemist, psychiatrist, nurse, teacher, director, or photographer can be gained by taking classes, but there are some skills required when functioning as adult that can be taught that are not.
We could have easily learned how to get a loan, buy a car, and make car payments if someone had taught us. We could have learned how to change a tire or oil. We could have learned how to make a budget or open a savings account. We could have learned how a credit card works, which would help us avoid going into debt. We could have learned how a mortgage works and the process of buying a house. We could have learned how to rent an apartment. There are so many things we could have learned but were never taught.
The question is who is to blame for our generation not having this information that was allotted to so many before us. Should we be blaming a failed education system or failing parents? The blame can go both ways.
Our society is relying more and more on the education system to give children all the knowledge they will need for the future while parents are condemning that system when it fails. While there is merit in an education system that attempts to give a wealth of information to its students, parents are needed to supplement that education.
Even if there were schools that attempted to teach all of the information necessary for young adults to function on their own in the world, parents are responsible for making sure this information is used at home.
With the way our education system is now, college has become the transition between being a teenager with the total support of parents to being an autonomous adult. While there are programs offered by certain groups on campus, there is not always the option for some students to get advice or information about how to adult properly.
I do not think it is a big stretch for us to demand more from our higher education systems in preparing students to be self reliant. More students will need this practical information than will need a master’s degree to accomplish their goals for the future. We cannot be afraid to demand these sorts of programs from our colleges.
While our education system needs to do more, so do the parents of young adults today. I know I feel like I need my mom more than ever as I prepare to become an autonomous adult and a successful teacher. While some young adults do not want to admit they need their parents, parental guidance is definitely needed in transitioning into adulthood. While our parents are needed to help us on this journey, we cannot be afraid to admit when we need our parents.