Blogger | Teacher
While school teaches us a lot of important lessons, growing older has made me realize just how much I don’t understand about the world. There are so many life skills and helpful tips I wish I’d had the opportunity to learn before I was thrust out into the real world to fend for myself.
While some schools do offer Life Skills classes or Home Economics electives, I think there are many universal situations that should be taught in school as part of a required course and not just an optional after-school activity. Because while knowing the Pythagorean theorem might be helpful for some people, I definitely think I’ve had to file my taxes more often than I’ve had to calculate the sides of a triangle.
Here is a list of important life lessons I wish I’d learned in school – and maybe if you also wished you’d learned these lessons early on in life, this article will motivate you to help teach your little ones these essential skills before they grow up and leave the nest!
How to Write a Resume
One of the biggest life skills that I’ve noticed many people lack when entering the workforce is knowing how to write a resume. Many young adults I know struggle with knowing what they should include on a resume, how to format it, and what the appropriate language is.
When writing a resume, the important information to include is your contact information, personal summary/statement, employment history, education, and achievement. It should be clearly organized so all the information is easy to read and understand, and the language should be pleasant, clear, and concise.
It took me a while to understand how to write an effective resume, but I noticed huge differences in employer responses once I made my resume clearer, more organized, and visually interesting!
How to Dress and Speak for a Job Interview
So you’ve turned in your new resume and got a call back about a job interview, but you never learned the life skills necessary for understanding how to dress or speak. That’s okay!
There are plenty of resources on the internet that goes more in-depth about how to ace a job interview, but the important things to remember are that you should dress smart – usually somewhere between business casual and business professional (i.e. a clean pair of slacks, a nice shirt, a long dress, etc.). You want to make a positive impression with your outfit!
When speaking during an interview, make sure to use polite language, consider the questions and form well-thought-out responses, and smile. Being friendly and positive is always a good way to give a great impression.
How to File Your Taxes
One of the most stressful life skills that I don’t think anyone ever fully learns is how to file taxes. No matter how often I’ve done it, I never feel like I know what I’m doing, and I’m constantly calling my mom to ask her what numbers go in which box.
The fact that filing taxes is an annual stressor should mean that it’s a lesson students are taught early on in school, but I don’t remember ever having a class that taught me the difference between a 1099 and 1040. And while there are easy online options that file your taxes for you, being able to differentiate and understand all the different forms is a super helpful skill that everyone should know.
How to Clean and Cook for Yourself
While these may seem like basic life skills, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met adults my age who still don’t know how to clean or cook for themselves. A fact of life: adults don’t know as much as we think they do when we’re kids.
Home Economics classes were great opportunities for students to learn skills to help them around the house – i.e. cooking, cleaning, and sewing – but oftentimes, these classes weren’t advertised or promoted enough for students to really know about them.
However, these are basic skills that can really improve your standard of living, so knowing how to clean and cook for yourself are essential lessons that will help you live a happy, well-balanced life.
How to Make Friends as an Adult
While I know that this may be a difficult lesson to teach in a class about life skills, it’s one of the biggest struggles I’ve found in adulthood. When you’re a kid, making friends seems so easy – you go to school, to the park, or to the playground and make friends with every other kid you meet along the way. But as an adult, making friends becomes so much harder.
No one teaches you where to go to make friends as an adult. You don’t learn what to talk about with adult friends or how to discuss difficult topics with people who might not agree with you. There are no lessons about how to keep in touch with people who don’t live near you, or how to make time in a busy schedule to maintain a social life.
Making friends is important for people from all age groups, so I wish there were more lessons when we’re still young about how to foster healthy, comfortable relationships as adults.
How to Create Boundaries
Another one of the most difficult life skills to learn: how to make boundaries. It can seem hard to know where to draw the line, when the appropriate time to say no is, and how to talk to someone about what makes you uncomfortable. If you’re anything like me, anxiety makes it almost impossible at times to have remotely confrontational conversations.
But creating boundaries is incredibly important for living a happy life, so encouraging children early on to know their limits and be okay with saying no is incredibly important for building functional, well-rounded individuals. Never be afraid to set boundaries and always respect your own limitations.
How to Keep a Budget
While we may have learned all about King Henry VIII and Punnett squares as required lessons in school, unless you took a Life Skills course or a Home Economics class, you may have missed the memo on how to keep a budget. I can’t tell you how many fully grown adults I’ve met who don’t know the best way to manage a budget or start a savings account.
If you’re looking to start keeping your own budget to help with your finances, I highly recommend buying an accounting or budgeting notebook and keeping track of all your expenses – this includes bills, food money, fun spending, and savings. No matter how small a purchase may seem, make sure to include it in your books.
Not only will this help you keep track of your spending, but it can also be a lifesaver if you come across an expense you don’t recognize. I find it to be a really reliable way to keep track of how much money I have and how much I need to save!
How to Love Yourself
Another one of the life skills that might be difficult to learn but is essential for living a happy life is knowing how to love yourself. While I know it might be a bit of a vague subject to teach in a class, I wish I could have known when I was younger that I was important, loved, and more than enough.
Too many times, we take the insecurities and pain from our childhood and young adult years into our adulthood without realizing that we are constantly changing and evolving. We aren’t the same people we were back then, and the people we are now don’t need the baggage from all those years ago.
No matter what you did or did not learn in school, I hope you take away from this article that you are a well-rounded, important individual who deserves all the love in the world – most especially from yourself.
Do you have other life skills you wished you’d learned in school? Tell us in the comments!
About Draven Jackson
Draven is an avid writer and reader who enjoys sharing her opinions on movies, books, and music with the rest of the world. She will soon be working as a teacher in Japan and hopes to use her experience to connect with other teachers and students around the globe. Draven spends most of her time at home with her family, her dogs, and her ferret.
To see more, view all posts by Draven Jackson here.