Seniors Missing Vital Life Skills

Genie Lee and Joelle Nelson

Congratulations! You’ve made it 18 years. You are a legal adult! You’re happily embracing the independence that age and college have granted you. Soon,  you receive your first paycheck from your part-time job. Stumped, you ask yourself, “What do I do with this money? How do I cash this check? Do I have to pay taxes? How do I budget this money?”

As you frantically Google for answers, the real question you should ask yourself is why no one has taken the time to teach you this before. There is no instant download of necessary knowledge and life skill that happens when your calendar flips to your 18th birthday.

Seniors need an “Adult 101” course: “How to act like a smart adult even though you really aren’t one (yet).” In this class, seniors would learn real-world skills and practical information.

One tidbit young adults need to know, is how to be financially responsible. Many of us will take out a student loan. The average time it takes for students to pay off a typical “10 year” loan is 21 years, according to US News.

That is an unnecessarily heavy financial burden, one which is often the result of ignorance. It is also one that could be mitigated if students had the chance to learn the right budgetary skills to pay off loans in a reasonable amount of time.

Unfortunately, this information isn’t taught in any class at Campolindo.

Financial responsibility is not the only piece missing from the high school puzzle. Job interviews, home maintenance, taxes, insurance, and personal safety are all topics that are undoubtedly beneficial and necessary for seniors who are about to depart into the next chapter of their lives. Students are still somehow managing to pass through their teen years without learning how to take care of themselves without the safety net of parental involvement.

Soon-to-be adults are on the verge of needing to provide for themselves. Preparing for job interviews and general workplace know-how is vital. My dad, an experienced employer of 30 years, is astonished by how bad some people are at interviews. He says asking questions and doing research beforehand are necessities for interviews, but teens, particularly the majority of those residing in the Campolindo community have little employment experience beyond babysitting or tutoring.

House maintenance is another responsibility that becomes a reality for most after college, and it is also a skill the affluent families of Lamorinda are unlikely to be passing down to their children. Students need to learn how to fix a leaky faucet rather than calling a plumber to save both time and money.

Emergency response is yet another piece of crucial information that should be covered. In the times when calling 911 won’t cut it, knowing basic CPR or first aid is extremely important.

Too many seniors are lacking  fundamental skills and knowledge for adulthood. What better time to teach them than during the high schools years leading up to it?