10 Life Skills That Gen Eds Forgot to Cover

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You’re invincible and know everything about everything – that’s right, I’m talking about you, All-Knowing College One. Until one day, someone asks you the questions that are above your all-encompassing knowledge. Those questions are about life skills. Dumbfounded and stunned, you ask yourself, “How on earth did none of the 125+ credit hours I took cover these skills?”

1. Financial Literacy

Yes, adding and subtracting is just about all the math I do on a daily basis, but personal finances are a different kind of monster. We’re talking balanced budgets, controlled spending, credit scores, the works. “Unless you specifically take a personal finance course I think there are very few opportunities for college students to learn about everything from writing a check to making a budget to starting an IRA,” recent American University graduate Allison Butler said. Throwing your money at every sale and knick-knack will get you nowhere but broke, and fast.

2. Time Management

Be real with yourself. After four years of college, you still won’t have nailed that tricky little thing. I can barely decide between another episode of A Different World on Netflix or actually addressing my adult responsibilities. (Adult? Who said that? Have you seen one around here?) Those of you who have mastered time management, you have all my respect.

3. Home and Technological Repairs

I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, toolbox or kitchen drawer. It’s just not my forte. Once the laptop takes its final wheezing breath, I may as well take mine, too. “I had a computer failure this year. I’m pretty tech savvy just based off stuff I learned from home, but no class has specially taught me about technological problems or any appliance problems and how to fix them,” Liberty University junior Zack Lazo said. Here’s to hoping some YouTuber has already uploaded a video about how to unclog the trash disposal and how to fix my laptop’s blue screen of death.

4. Filing Your Taxes

Jessie J might have told you it’s not about the money, but it is. It’s also about W-2s, 1040s and those lovely little tax refund checks. “Unless you are some kind of business major, you are left to research how to do it yourself,” recent UMD graduate Chika Esochaghi said. That’s a pretty scary thought, considering how well some of us college kids do when left to fend for ourselves. Accounting majors have a leg up here; take that advantage and run with it.

5. Cooking A Meal

Like, from scratch. A good, ol’ fashioned stir fry or grilled chicken. Easy Mac and Ramen don’t quite cut it here. You could’ve gone to culinary school, but here you are. You learned to survive with Ramen; you’ve got to learn to thrive with homemade lasagna. Rise to the occasion of throwing down in the kitchen and unleash your inner Emeril Lagasse.

6. Setting A Table

And which utensil to start with after setting said table. It’s something about starting from the outside and working your way in, right? The spoon should be alone, but the fork and knife are buddies. Wait. Which fork is buddies with the knife?  If you’re just feeding yourself and friends, this may not be so worrisome – you just want to eat. But imagine this narrative running through your head at a business dinner with colleagues. Talk about a nightmare.

7. Negotiating A Salary

Hello, somebody. You’ve never looked cuter with your bachelor’s degree – but you’re not going to look so cute when you settle for less than what you deserve. WVU junior Sabrina Ridenour couldn’t agree more. “Once you are out in the real world receiving job offers and looking at salaries, you have to consider living expenses, benefits, spending habits and your self-worth,” Ridenour said. “You also have to do research on the starting salaries within the rest of the field to make sure your offers are in the right range.”

8. Understanding Insurance

I hand my insurance card to the receptionist at the doctor’s office and that’s the extent of my knowledge on insurance. Sad, but true. Health insurance, car insurance, life insurance – what’s all this mumbo-jumbo about policies?

9. Changing A Tire

Windows down, music up, friends squished in the backseat, you’re tearing down the highway on your first college road trip and then THUMP. To your dismay, your sturdy little Honda Civic is thumping along in the emergency lane with a flat tire. So much for sturdy. Call AAA. Don’t they charge for a tow more than five miles? Call your parents. They won’t charge, but maybe they can walk you through how to change that tire. Better late than never.

10. Sewing Your Own Clothes

When that button pops off your favorite shirt or dress and falls at your feet, what’s a non-sewing-person like yourself supposed to do? Call Grandma? She’s five states away, buck up buttercup. Somewhere in the back of that crowded hallway closet is a sewing kit that Grandma gave you. Time to break out the thimble and needle.

Born in D.C., raised in Maryland, heart set on the world. Junior broadcast journalism major at the University of Maryland. When she’s not in class, Carm enjoys diving into a good book, supporting the Terps, or taking D.C. trips on a whim.

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