Hey, high school graduate of 2016! Congratulations on your graduation! You don’t know me, but I was you about 10 years ago.There’s a whole bunch of stuff that I wish someone taught me that would have been really, really useful. But nobody did. So I had to learn it the hard way.
This is my grandmother’s generation’s worst nightmare. Coming from a woman who could cook, clean and sew she didn’t have google to tell her how to cook a turkey. There are some things I wish that we learned a lot younger so we weren’t so… screwed now.
I remember in 1st grade learning about checks and balancing a checkbook which was awesome but that’s when the practicality ended. I don’t need to know the Pythagorean theorem or who the protagonist is in Othello. We need to learn more about life because not everyone goes to college after high school. So here are some topics I wish I didn’t have to learn the hard way.
Loans and Debt (Two words that make me sick)
Looking back, few things are scarier than realizing that high school seniors are given the capacity to sign away their financial future, encouraged by deceptive college pamphlets that promise amazing job prospects and a four-year-long party. It’s hard to imagine an 18-year-old who wouldn’t sign up for 100,000 worth of debt for their studies. But if someone in their high school was teaching them exactly what paying that money looks like on an average salary, and how much money a month it will take away from things like rent and “going out,” they might think twice before taking the most fun-looking option, instead of the best deal.
Your Biggest Investment
It’s not a car; it’s not a wedding ring; it’s not a house, and it’s not college. It’s retirement. You have to be able to pay yourself a salary from the day you retire until the day you die. How will you do this? By starting to save early and often. The second you get a job, start saving for retirement. You may not retire for 45 more years, but if you start now, you won’t have to save much every month.
How to sew a button back on.
Learning how to sew a button is a relatively simple skill. It’s also one that I never learned how to do in high school. I also had no idea how to work a sewing machine or hem my jeans. It’s important to learn how to fix them because it looks terrible when your buttons are missing off blazers and overcoats. You don’t have to be Vera Wang but teach me the basics!
Cooking something that isn’t instant.
Unfortunately, man cannot live on Taco Bell alone, though I wish I could. I remember taking a health class in my Freshman year of high school where I learned what the labels on the packages of food meant and what the proper daily intake is of sodium, sugar, and other things like that. Other than that though my cooking experience was pretty limited. It’s not something you can master right away but it would have been nice to at least learn the basics. Like when the hell an egg is hard boiled or how to cook rice and NOT have to call my mom with “when does chicken go bad?”.
Basic car stuff
My father knows his way around cars and whenever he would go to teach me a little about changing my oil or about basic maintenance I’d just stare back at him pretending to listen. Then I would drive away in my Jeep. Later, I’d have a minor meltdown when my car’s oil light went on. No I still don’t know what a dipstick is….
A credit card has its place in a household’s financial arsenal. However, too many people rely on credit cards to pay the bills, which can turn into a dangerous cycle. A credit card should not be viewed as something you can use to purchase things you can’t afford. Rather, it should be viewed and used as a last-case scenario for an emergency or a tool to build your credit. The easiest way to avoid a bad credit card scenario is by not getting into one.
What are taxes? Do I claim “0” or “1”?
Okay did anyone learn how to do this in private school? Because when it comes to paying taxes I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. In fact, I don’t even know what “W-2” means. I just know that’s what I call that paper with my yearly income information. If it wasn’t for my CPA boyfriend literally doing my taxes every year I’m pretty sure the IRS would’ve thrown me in jail by now (if I made more money)…
It’s fine when your mom packs your lunch and buys your clothes. There will come a point when the well runs dry. Does anyone really know how to manage their money? Be honest, can you even tell the difference between the accounting number and routing number on your checks? Mainly I just really want to be able to buy a few sweaters and also eat for the week. Is that so much to ask?
Ringbacks are not ok. Vulgar voicemail recordings are also, not ok. Answering the phone with “What?” or “Yeah?” literally melts a piece of my soul away every time I hear it. So please grow up and learn how to use a phone or to be safe give out your mom’s home phone if you aren’t capable of adulting yet.
Turns out spraying Febreeze all over your apartment doesn’t actually make it clean and you need more than just Clorox wipes. Also shoving everything in a closet does not a clean home make. Now that you’re living in your own place and trying to function like a real adult, its time to become friends with your broom, vacuum and mop. Basically remembering that there are spaces that still need to be cleaned like doorknobs, refrigerators, and baseboards.
Remember that time you had a paper due but decided a Netflix marathon was more important? Or when you told yourself you’d just go on Facebook for a few minutes and you ended up in your lab partner’s prom 10th grade prom date’s son’s first Christmas album? Time management is hard, especially when revamping your résumé is less entertaining than, well, literally anything else.But remember SVU is literally on every day and Lifetime now has a movie channel, so step away and get shit done!
Is there a cycle for “hand washing”? Yes, it’s called bring it over your mom’s because she’ll know what to do. From foundation to pen, you should know how to take care of your clothes. Seems silly but the better you take care of this stuff the best you have to replace it!
So learn what you can from people around you especially you grandparents and parents. They though at certain ages does not seem it, are in fact a wealth of knowledge that you can learn so much from!