Does the Education System Fail at Preparing Students for Adulthood?

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Do schools prepare students for adulthood? The answer to that has been debated for ages now. But a larger portion of adults believes that their schools didn’t prepare them. In a joint study by the universities of Manchester and Chicago, it was revealed that over 60% of students thought that their high school curriculum lacked essential “life skills,” “hands-on material,” and “interpersonal approaches” that would’ve prepared them for the “practicalities of independent living.”

Meanwhile, the Office for National Statistics showed that only 34% of 15- to 17-year-olds felt well-equipped for adulthood before graduating. Among university students, only 48% felt the same.

There is no doubt that we need to study. Studying gives us the knowledge we need to get by every day, such as when we buy goods, count money, read, write, etc. However, adulthood demands more than just arithmetic and reading comprehension skills. It expects us to know how to file taxes, manage a household, budget finances, and more, things that many students wished they had learned at school.

If you’re still a student who’s wondering if you’re prepared for adulthood, here are the challenges 20-somethings commonly go through:

1. Living at Home

Living in your parents’ home in your 20s has a lot of perks, such as allowing you to save money. But it can also cause anxiety, stress, reduced self-esteem, and a decreased sense of autonomy. It may also draw a sense of confusion about your status as an adult. Living in your parents’ home can make you feel like a child because you’re still receiving parental care and follow the rules you’ve always done as a child.

The exact challenge in this situation is treading the line between respecting your parents and honoring your sense of freedom. On the one hand, you want to explore various fields and places. On the other, you have to consider your parents’ feelings about your pursuits. You could feel upset because your teachers and professors didn’t warn you of this but instead encouraged you to spread your wings.

2. Independence

Independence is a remarkable achievement, but it’s not as easy as some people make it sound. Being independent doesn’t mean freedom and liberty, after all. Instead, it’s taking care of yourself, paying the bills, budgeting, settling debts, and managing assets.

Some schools offer lessons on personal financial management. But schools don’t often teach taxation unless you’re taking an accounting degree. Hence, many employees feel lost when it’s time to file their taxes or don’t understand how taxes are computed in their paychecks.


3. Life Skills

Many adults don’t know how to cook, maintain a house, and manage their time. They always end up overworked because working is all they know, and it pays the bills. Thankfully, home economics is part of some schools’ curricula, and a growing number of students is now demanding the subject to be taught in all schools. We can be positive that in the future, graduates will enter adulthood equipped with life skills. As a result, they can be independent with minimal issues, avoiding the “limbo” in their parents’ house.

How Schools Prepare People for Adulthood

To be fair, schools aren’t doing a completely lackluster job at preparing us for adulthood. Schools offer many opportunities for increasing our sense of responsibility, critical thinking skills, teamwork skills, punctuality, and studying techniques.

For example, if your teachers give you a deadline for a project, they teach you how to be responsible. Deadlines help us set our priorities straight and manage our time well, skills that come useful in adulthood. If an art project involves visiting a museum and interpreting art, it teaches critical thinking skills, which helps adults become successful employees and leaders. Group projects instill the spirit of teamwork, helping us thrive in the organizations we’d work in. And of course, punctuality breeds professionalism, and good studying techniques help us strike a balance between work and leisure.

What You Can Do to Be a Successful Adult

At the end of the day, it’s our job to bring ourselves to success. Schools might’ve lacked in preparing us for adulthood, but if we keep blaming the education system, we won’t get anywhere. So instead of pointing fingers, focus on what you can control. That would be your behaviors, decisions, and lifestyle. If you feel you’ve lost direction in life, you can invest in life coach services online. A life coach will help you set goals, become healthier and happier. They’ll help you let go of whatever’s holding you back from unleashing your full potential.

So whether your school prepares you enough for adulthood or not, remember that you are responsible for your growth. Schools can only teach us so much. Make the most out of your lessons, and enter adulthood with an eagerness to learn, not assuming that you should already know everything.

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