5 Lifeskills the Forgotten Half Never Learned

This semester I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to work as a undergraduate member of an educational psychology research lab. While conducting research, I’ve come across something that I felt was important, and needs to be shared desperately. Do you guys know about “the Forgotten Half”? If not, let’s indulge.

In modern times, education has become an essential part of our lives. Especially, as Americans, it seems crazy to drop out of high school, and almost as crazy to not attend college. But, now, it seems like high schoolers have no choice—and that’s not really fair is it?

The reason why this isn’t fair, is because high schools are now putting all their time and effort to teach students how to get to college. They are teaching students how to study, how to write essays, how to excel on standardized tests…which seems great, right? But what if…you don’t plan on going to college? What is college just isn’t for you? What if that’s not what you want to do with your life? What if you still want to obtain a HS diploma, but you don’t want to go to college? How is this fair to you?

Now, I am NO ONE to say I know everything and anything about every educational system out there…but, in my eyes, I don’t see this as fair. These are the kids educational psychologists deem “the Forgotten Half.” They are the ones who…aren’t really getting what they need out of high school if they are going straight to work rather than college. And here are a few lifeskills I think they—well, everyone—should learn by the time they graduate, because…most of the time, they don’t learn it.

1. How to Prepare for/Ace a Job Interview

I didn’t really learn this. And when I think about it…I didn’t really learn how to be interviewed at all. Of course, I had public speaking; I presented several projects and speeches. But no one really told me exactly what to wear, what to expect, what to say, or anything for an interview. Luckily, I got by with older friends who’ve been through the experience, and I got accepted into a program that taught things like this…but what about the people who don’t get this? How do they get jobs?

2. How to Grocery Shop/Cook

I have a friend who went to the grocery store for his mom and bought bananas and Poptarts. I kid you not—he texted me a picture of his cart and said, “I don’t know what I’m doing, help.” He’s my age, and he’s never really grocery shopped. I highly doubt he’s the only one.

3. Along with cooking, how about Cleaning/Basic Housekeeping

My friend and I had a GNO at my house, and she ended up having to dogsit. My apartment is dog friendly and the dog was trained, so I told her the dog could come over and still watch movies with us. Through a series of unfortunate events, I ended up with doggy diarrhea (sorry, I couldn’t say it any prettier) all over the floor. We didn’t really know how to clean that…so we ended up using anything and everything I found under the kitchen sink.

While dog diarrhea is not every day an every day occurrence (I’m SO sorry if it is), I think some general cleaning tips wouldn’t have been all that bad to learn. How do I get this out of carpet? How do I clean the crap off the bathtub? What chemicals can I and can I not mix so that I don’t risk my life? Questions like this should have been answered long before I was ever allowed to live on my own.

4. Maybe this is like cleaning, but Laundry too!

Laundry IS pretty much an every day thing, assuming one changes clothes daily. While it is no brainer to all the folks that do it, it’s hard to get it exactly right if no one every explains it at all.

The whites go where? How do I wash this type of fabric? Will this shrink? Hot or cold water? IT’S HARDER THAN ONE THINKS SOMETIMES. While I do my own laundry now, I will never say I do it the right way. I KNOW I don’t, because I don’t know the right way. I do enough to get my clothes clean…and some of my white clothes, not so white.

5. How to pay bills/write checks/understand how banks work

I remember a few years ago, I couldn’t tell you what “interest” meant. I mean, people said it all the time and eventually I figured it out…but I still don’t know what is ridiculous or what’s not. I don’t know what is “too much” or “too cheap” when it comes to anything really. What’s a high internet bill? Oh, I didn’t realize I was letting Time Warner Cable rip me off for this long…yeah, that’s what happens.

And paying bills? Paying bills is a pain in the ass. They all come in at different times. I have to make sure I have enough money in the bank. I have to remember that I paid them, or that I still have to pay them. And I have to mail them out—I don’t even know where to get stamps at this point. But wait, how do I put money in the bank? How do I take money out? What if I need to borrow money? What?? This could easily get overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re doing. So why are we not being prepared for it?

These are only a few things I missed out on in high school that would have been incredibly beneficial to learn not on my own. Now, I’m not saying the education system is whack (that’s a whole different post in itself). I’m just wondering how society expect the majority of high schoolers to go to college and everyone else to survive if they don’t. And I’m worried about those who don’t get this when they need it the most. Does anyone else agree? What else could you have learned in high school that may have been helpful for actual life itself?

As always, thanks for reading.


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