Everyone tells us it’s important to go to college. You need to go to college so that you can get a job, make money, buy a house, start a family, then live happily ever after. If you go to college, then it’ll make your life after college so much better. We then sit through classes upon classes learning things that we may or may not use once we leave college. We write countless papers, take a bunch of tests, read a thousand different books and articles, and finally leave with a piece of paper that says we’ve studied and learned enough of a certain subject to be able to excel in that subject moving forward. But what about all those life skills that college didn’t teach us about? What about those things we had to learn about on our own or will be forced to learn during our life after college? Here’s a list of 8 things about life that college doesn’t teach you. Hopefully, it helps you navigate your life after college.
1. How to file important documents.
I’m talking about filing your taxes, signing up for car insurance, signing up for healthcare, applying for a credit card; all of the important things you need to do as an adult human being. Thankfully, I have my parents who helped me out with all of this stuff because college sure didn’t. There should be a mandatory class at all universities that teach you how to do these basic life things. Life after college is tough enough without having to teach yourself how to do all of this stuff. It’s even worse if you suffer at the expense of not having one of these things because no one told you you needed them or taught you how to go about getting them. It’s better to be in the know about these sort of things when you start your life after college, so schools should teach us about them.
2. How to find and land a job.
We embark on a college journey because we’re told that a degree in the subject we eventually want to work in will lead us to land a job in that field once we graduate. So, we study that subject as much as our schools tell us to so that we can be knowledgeable enough to land our dream job when our life after college starts. What we don’t expect though, is that it’s hard to find that perfect job and it’s even harder to get it. Schools should hold courses where they teach you how to look for and find jobs, build a solid resume and cover letter, apply for the jobs, know what to expect during an interview, and understanding what happens when you’re offered a job and given an employment contract. Sure, I took a course where I had to get an internship, but the course didn’t teach me how to go about getting said internship. I did all the looking, applying, and accepting by myself. If I were given the opportunity to learn how to do that I think my life after college, especially that first year, would’ve gone a lot smoother.
3. How to hold a conversation and network with people.
Being able to talk to other people is a foundational skill for your life after college; actually a skill you should have for your entire life. There are different ways you should converse with different people in your life and no one really teaches us how to do that. We’re initially taught how to speak, but not what we should and shouldn’t say to certain people. It’s more a thing you learn by doing; you begin to learn for yourself what works and doesn’t work with certain people and certain situations. So many people in the younger generations don’t even know how to talk face to face because communication has become something they do through text and social media. Their conversation skills are being hindered more and more every day.
If there was a class that taught us how to talk to the people we’ll engage with during life after college–especially bosses and coworkers that are from a different generation than us–it would make it easier. This is the case for me recently. I sometimes find it hard to converse with the people I just started working with because they are older than me and I’ve never had to engage with people like them in a work setting. Knowing what to expect and how to prepare for these interactions during my life after college would’ve been helpful.
4. How to handle money.
Again, this is a skill we sort of just pick up because we make some bad decisions and have to learn from them. But had there been some sort of class in school that taught me how to manage and handle my money, I’m sure I would’ve done things a lot differently when it came to purchases. If I had learned how to properly handle money during college then my life after college wouldn’t have been hit so hard. Like with student loans for example. When I was in college I thought I could just accept and borrow money willy-nilly and not have to worry about it. Now during my life after college, I know that wasn’t the case, and paying back that money causes added stress that could’ve potentially been avoided. If my schools had offered a course on handling money and filing for loans I’m sure my financials wouldn’t be as affected now. We shouldn’t have to learn these things the hard way, they should be offered as courses in school so that we can be better prepared for life after college.
5. How to apply for an apartment.
Going into applying for my first real apartment when life after college started I had no idea what I was doing. I lived in off-campus student housing until I graduated and applying for that housing was very different than applying for a regular apartment. I had no idea that I was going to be asked about my non-existent credit, for proof that I was employed for a least the last six months, and a history of all the places I had lived before. I didn’t even know I would need all of those things. Had there been a course on applying for an apartment in college, I wouldn’t have been blindsided by property managers and landlords during my life after college. It’s all fine and dandy when they’re using your tuition to pay for your off-campus apartment, but once you have to send your first rent check off, not as great. There’s just so much about life after college that could’ve easily been taught while I was in college. I would’ve traded in my 11th-grade math course for a course on buying/renting a property any day.
6. Time management.
They want you to be able to manage your time while you’re in college but no one actually teaches you how to do that when you start school there. Professors assign you a large number of assignments, readings, and tests without considering that you also hold two jobs so that you can pay for the classes that all those assignments are coming from. And not a single professor teaches you how to handle all that schoolwork plus your loaded work schedule. Time management is something that is going to continue to be valuable during your life after college, and if you can’t learn how to do it while you’re in college it’s going to be tough to learn how to do it once your schedule is even busier. Thankfully, we’re savvy and can adjust just like we’ve been doing with all the things on this list but there are so many ways the things we need to know for our life after college could’ve been taught in college.
7. Dating and relationships.
When we start college, we go into this one blind because can we honestly say that the relationships we had in high school were actually real relationships? Probably not. Man, if I had been offered a course in dating and relationships in college I would’ve swooped in on that one right away. I’d probably have a solid relationship in my life after college now, had I been taught how to begin and continue to manage a relationship. Granted, it probably would be tougher to teach about dating and relationships because each one is extremely different because as people we’re different, but even if I had been offered a class on how to flirt without completely humiliating myself or a class on knowing when someone was actually flirting with me and not just being nice then I think my love life after college might be a little better. Any help in this area, especially from a professional, would’ve been so helpful and could’ve still been so helpful for me today.
8. How to survive without technology.
In college, we learn what a persuasive essay is versus a narrative essay and how to write one, but no one taught me how to read a map on a road trip when my phone has no service and I can’t use my Apple Maps. I wouldn’t even have the patience to look something up in an encyclopedia if the internet just ceased to exist at this very moment. During college, we used computers and our phones to find all the information we needed to complete a project or a paper. In my life after college, I use a computer to complete all of my work–everything I write, the meetings I attend, and how my boss knows I’m working all our done on a computer. Could you imagine if we all had to have old-fashioned conference calls because of all the remote work due to the pandemic? Would half of us even know how to join a conference call and be able to conduct a meeting without seeing and only hearing one another? This would’ve been such a valuable course in college because it could prepare us for a freak thing where we wouldn’t be able to use most of our modern technology in our life after college.