Adulting. This word has been a huge buzzword in recent years, but why? Well, “adulting” is what students at large are saying when they do grown-up activities, such as taxes or paying rent. There’s even a school in Maine teaching students how to “adult“. However, here’s the issue. Many students don’t realize how to do these things until after they get their degree, which I see as a serious gap in education. Even as I transition from being an undergraduate student to a full-fledged adult with a job, I’m also struggling with certain aspects of adult life. How can we help our students become functioning adults in society before they get out there?
Many people would point to using career services as a viable tool to help students prepare. However, this isn’t the only solution. Career services helps students GET jobs, but it doesn’t help them keep those jobs or teach them how to iron their clothes. Students are struggling to learn how to do meal prep, budgeting, and so much more.
In my opinion, as a person not too far removed from the current undergraduate experience, there are a couple options. Firstly, institutions could require a course like home economics to be completed during general education. Helping students early on, especially before they move off campus, would be incredibly useful. Having the necessary life skills to keep yourself going every day is important to a person’s mental and emotional health.
Secondly, institutions could offer more life skills training in offices like career services. Perhaps they could make this its own office instead, whichever way works best. Not all students need training in this aspect of life, so requiring a course wouldn’t be the best option. Offering this training as supplemental, encouraged, and most importantly free or at a reduced cost, could really help students learn what it means to grow up.
I don’t have all the answers to fixing this issue. I do know from both personal experience and statements taken from other students that this is a problem many students would like to see addressed. We give students the tools to be educated members of society. We need to teach them how to function in society as well.