Students have a lack of life skills

Aaron Gray, Staff Writer

High school is a time for many students to seriously start thinking about the rest of their lives. Colleges to consider, majors to pursue and places to live are important points in any high school student’s thought process, but what about some of the finer points of independent living? Students are just straight-up unaware of the challenges ahead of them. 

As the old saying goes, “You can count on three things in life: death, taxes, and losing the game.”

Taxes, bills, credit card debts, stocks and much more are extremely important aspects of life that seem to be overlooked by many students in the rush of transitioning to college life. Some might already have a general concept of them, but they are much more complicated than some might think, and if handled incorrectly, could be a huge obstacle to overcome. General concepts will get you nowhere but a soup kitchen in your 20’s, kiddos. You need to know exactly how they work if you want to be stable in the real world, let alone excel in it. 

The school, of course, realizes this, and offers courses on these subjects.

“(The) Adult Living class covers several of these practical, relevant topics,” FCS teacher Allison Hoskins said. “We cover credit, credit cards, taxes, financial planning, student loans, car loans, cost of living on your own, and much more.”

Other classes, such as Money Management, cover the same topics, guiding students on pertinent information that can be used for the rest of their adult lives. But many students don’t seem to realize the importance of such subjects as these, or how imperative it is for them to clear a spot in their schedules for at least one of these classes. The lack of awareness is frankly rather sad. 

According to a recent article from CNN, as many as 53% of 18-24 year olds are living with their parents, and another article from the same source says that the average student debt was around about $27,000 towards the end of 2012. But regardless of these startling statistics, many students across the nation don’t seem to be aware of the brick wall that is approaching them much quicker than they realize. So the question is, are students ready to make the leap to independent living?

The answer, at least to guidance counselor Curt Larkin, is a resounding no.

“It’s because parents are doing all of [the financial obligations] right now,” Larkin said. “Think of all the parents provide for their [kids], with food, clothing, insurance; they pay for utilities, they pay for their cell phones, they pay for their internet access… all of these different bills. The realm of [each of those] costs are really invisible to most students, which is why classes like Adult Living [and] money management are so important and valuable to students.”

Students at JHS have a very small window of time from now until college to start thinking about, and indeed planning for, these obligations. College is a way of easing many students into these processes–they have to start paying for their own meals and other such things, but the cost of apartments and other miscellaneous living necessities can quickly overwhelm many young adults coming out of college–especially during those first few months (or even years) of trying to find a steady job.

Students, the time is now to start planning for these events. Having a job and a car does not qualify you as an independent adult; you still have a mountain of bills to start paying and a cavalcade of other problems before you can start to be ready for the rest of your life.  Clear out a spot in your schedule for Adult Living or money management, or get a parent or guidance counselor to help you plan for your future. Time is ticking, and you don’t have as much time left as you think. Don’t become one of the 53%.