What They Don’t Teach You in School

07/24/2004

I was thinking recently about how important it is for schools to relate what they teach you to the real world as much as possible. I find that many of us leave school and kind of hit the fan of the real world. Ouch. What do you wish you had learned to better prepare you for life? I started compiling my own list:
- I wish I was bilingual. Living in MN where everyone spoke English made it seem totally pointless. That, and my language choices were German, Spanish, or French. The Spanish seems important to me…but the other two seem to be fading fast. I wish they offered Chinese at my school.
- I wish I learned about different kinds of savings, loans, stocks, money-market accounts and all that. I also wish I had learned more about credit cards and other “we’ll give you money if we can take your first born child” kinds of schemes. Things like comparing rental to home ownership, looking at smart ways to buy cars, etc. would have also been really helpful.
- My counselor told me not to take the small engines class because I was a “college bound” student. So, I took Calculus instead. No offense to Calculus, but I wish I had learned how an engine works, how to fix my own car, etc. That would have made me so much more functional. I also wish I learned other homey kinds of things like how plumbing works, effective ways of building a solid structure, etc.
- Modern History. I learned from ancient civilizations up until World War II. Never was taught anything past that. I’ve kind of had to pick up pieces & books here and there to learn it on my own time. They just didn’t teach it at my school.
- How to start a business and how to patent/produce an idea. I have an invention that’s in my head — how do I make it a reality?
Well, those are a few things for now anyway. It would be great if schools were more based in real-world experience. Maybe then the transition from school to real-life wouldn’t be so painfully awkward. One good thing is that I feel comfortable in my ability to research. So, I’ve been able to start to answer some of the things that I listed above through these resources. It just would have been nice to know before I graduated high school.