Real World Skills

I’ve always been curious as to why there was never a class in high school that focuses on real world skills, skills that each person heading into the real world should know about.  I’m talking about learning about all the different types of taxes, how to do your taxes, how to act in interviews, how to handle/manage money, how credit works, learning about government and how it affects you, learning about healthcare, what kinds of insurance there is and what I need/why I need it, laws that affect you (state and federal), contingency planning, how to take out a loan (without the help of your parents), the list goes on and on.  Even now in college, I still don’t know how most of this stuff works. 

Thankfully, I was lucky enough to have my family help me when it came to opening a bank account, taking out loans for college, covering me with health insurance, and doing my taxes for me because I would be lost/clueless on how to do it by myself.  Sure, now we have the almighty google to help us with anything you ask but will each answer be updated and correct?  What if the internet explains what I was questioning, but not to the extent that I needed, or even made me more confused than when I started out.  You never know if you are going to get the answers that you need online.

Why has there never been a real world class in high school?  I’m not counting home economics and shop because they were extremely gendered and didn’t cover any of the topics that I mentioned earlier.  Is it because we’re supposed to learn through life experience and struggle to we figure it out?  Do the school systems deem a class like this not as important as science, math, history, etc.?  Or is it just my experience and the schools that I went to that didn’t offer its students this type of class?  I’m almost positive that I’m not the only one who wishes they had a type of class like this in their high school career.  What do you think?  Did you have a class like this in high school?  If not, do you wish you had a course like this?


Author: SK

Wheaton College '19

One thought on “Real World Skills”

  1. I couldn’t agree more about how our education system lacks focus on real-world skills. I am a Business & Management major and I haven’t gotten nearly enough education related to personal finance and applied economics. I think it is critical that every high school student should have exposure to personal finance and more specifically, how to file taxes, where tax dollars go, and the economic role the government plays in our country because how can we make informed political decisions without understanding how the tax code works?

    Prof. John Gildea (straight-up, gotta be one of the best, if not the best professor at Wheaton) instructs a Corporate Finance course that delves into how investment and capital structures work. His final class of the semester, after the last regular test and before the final, is focus exclusively on personal finance. I don’t think I’ve ever learned more in one class than that one lecture. He discussed everything from filing personal taxes, to negotiating employment contracts and retirement plans.

    Education should be a vehicle that prepares students for adulthood, and when the system fails to inform students about the necessary duties of being a citizen, than changes should be made. Personal Finance for all!


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