Real-World Skills We Wish Were Taught in High School
Forget trigonometry. We wish we had taken a high school class that taught us how to say, "This meeting could have been an email," without getting fired.
Funny High School Classes That Should Totally Be Real
Having a well-rounded education is valuable. There's no doubt about that. But whether or not a current high school education counts as well-rounded is up for debate.
Let's see how the Pythagorean theorem can help you figure out if your relationship is toxic. Maybe the quadratic formula will teach you how long you can put off that 10,000-mile car service before it's too late. These are the classes we wish they taught in high school to help teens prepare for the real world.
How to Stop Scrolling 101
Show us a teenager who hasn't stayed up until 2 a.m. scrolling through TikTok or Instagram, and we'll show you a liar. Social media apps are designed to be addictive. Online content is hyper-stimulating, mindless entertainment that's hard to put down.
Teenagers could use a course that teaches how much screen time is too much and how to unplug when you're already addicted. A course in online data safety wouldn't be amiss either. Honestly, most adults we know could benefit from both of those classes. Where can we sign up?
How to Communicate With Grandparents Via Text
Texting is supposed to make life more convenient. This does not apply when the person you're texting is a boomer. Gen Z text lingo and boomer speak are two very different things. Chapters of this course would include:
- Is Your Aunt Annoyed, or Does She Just Love Ellipses?
- How to Read Run-on Sentences
- How to Ignore Your Grandma's Candy Crush Request Nicely
- Reducing Stress Levels While Reading Paragraphs in All Caps
And so on and so forth. On the final, kids can translate emojis sent by 66-year-olds for extra credit.
How to Tell Someone Off Without Getting Fired
Younger generations tend to be very straightforward, and we love that for them. That said, 20-somethings still need to eat, and too many trips to HR might make that a problem. Telling off your coworkers tactfully is an art form, and a course written by a workplace wordsmith would be highly appreciated.
Students would learn things like, "Don't send an email when you're angry," plus more direct ways to respond to a coworker who is, pardon our French, an insufferable pain in the butt. Examples include:
- Not sure if you got my email since I haven't heard back.
- Can you help me understand how you arrived at that conclusion?
- That's an interesting perspective.
- As per my last email...
- How can we avoid this in the future?
- I hope your day is as pleasant as you are!
Microwave Cooking for One
You'd be surprised how many college students do not know how to feed themselves. Sure, plenty of them get a convenient meal plan at school, but what happens after that? Forget learning the difference between dicing and slicing.
Teach kids how to dress up microwavable meals so they A) Ingest a vegetable at least once a week and B) Don't give themselves food poisoning.
AP Online Dating
We AP because this class should definitely have beginner and advanced versions. Dating isn't anything like it used to be, and the majority of youths will dabble in online dating at some point or another. Before they do, it would be great to teach them:
- Pros and cons of Tinder, Match, Hinge, etc.
- What not to say on your dating profile
- How to spot a future stalker
- How to turn someone down without being a jerk
- How to troll people who send unwanted photos. You know the kind we mean.
- How to handle being ghosted
We all get ghosted. It doesn't mean you're ugly and unlovable. We promise.
That's it. That's the whole class. You can go to jail for doing your taxes wrong, but no one teaches you how to do them right. How is that fair?!
We haven't been in high school in a minute, but if there was a remedial version, we'd totally sign up.
Common Sense 1A
Why is common sense called that? There's nothing common about it. Back in the 1980s and '90s, kids spent a lot more time running around outside with minimal supervision. It wasn't the safest, but we learned from our mistakes. Kids these days are so glued to screens that they're ill-equipped to deal with, well, real life.
Just because you don't burn doesn't mean you don't need sunscreen. Don't text while crossing a street. If you go to a job interview in gym shorts, you probably won't leave with a job. If an e-bike races a car, the car is going to win. If someone is writing your paycheck, don't piss them off.
College Prep: Real World Edition
Remember how high school teachers always used to say stuff like, "When you're in college, professors won't go this easy on you." That was a lie. Once you get to college, your teachers tend to treat you like adults.
Most of them don't play games. Come to class or don't. Do the work or don't. No one is going to call your parents, and you're not going to get detention for ditching. Suggested reading for this one would include important tidbits like:
- What classes are acceptable to wear pajama pants to
- How to take turns writing notes with friends so you can nap 50 percent of the time
- How much procrastination is too much
- How much Red Bull will send you to the ER
The Caring and Keeping of You, à La American Girl
Where are all of the ladies who grew up in the early 2000s? Remember this book? It was originally written to help tween girls learn about self-care during the awkward phases of adolescence, but there should totally be a similar course for teens and young adults. High schoolers would learn gems like:
- Flossing the day before a dentist appointment doesn't fool anyone, especially not your gums
- Inside-outing your underwear doesn't mean you should wear it twice
- Wear flip-flops in dorm showers, or face the consequences
- How long it takes for leftover pizza to become a biohazard
SMART Goal Setting for Idiots
Why didn't we hear about SMART goals until we were grown adults? In case you still haven't learned about the concept, SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound. It's a way of setting goals that are realistic and building an action plan to achieve them. Instead of setting a vague goal like "get better grades," students can learn to set goals like, "raise my biology grade to a 90 percent by mid-terms."
That goal would then be broken down into smaller milestones, with actionable steps to achieve them, like participating in a weekly study group or going over flashcards for 15 minutes each night. So much more effective.
Priority Setting 1A
This might seem like the same thing as goal setting, but it's not. High school life is busy, but as any adult can attest, life only gets busier from there. As responsibilities add up, it gets trickier to find balance. How do you remember to call your mom, keep up your grades, hold down a job, eat less takeout and have a social life without losing your mind?
That's what this class is for. When you're juggling so many tasks, dropping a ball from time to time is inevitable. Priority Setting class would teach you how to decide which ball is the least risky to drop.
Damage Control 101
In case students don't pass Priority Setting 1A, there's Damage Control 101. Everyone makes mistakes. Teens tend to panic and make matters worse by either trying to cover up their mistake or refusing to ask for help when they need it. (We know some 50 year olds who do the same thing, TBH.)
Damage Control class is there to teach you how to mess up masterfully. Apologize with pizazz. Crap the bed with class. You get it.
How to Tell If You Need Therapy
TL/DR: You do.
Obviously, the class would be more in-depth than that. Lessons would include topics like:
- Where's the line between partying hard and starting a drinking problem?
- Has your relationship lost its spark, or are you just self-sabotaging?
- Oh, wow, your mom was right about a lot.
- Do you actually have ADHD, or are you just on TikTok too much?
Are They Your Soulmate, or Are They Just Hot?
Don't lie. You know you needed this class. Additional recommended reading:
- Do you love him, or do you just love that he has a boat?
- Are they marriage material, or are they just the first person you've dated who's mostly sane?
- Do they come from a family that runs 5Ks on Thanksgiving?
Essential relationship questions, really. Necessary for med school? No. Necessary to avoid a regrettable elopement in Vegas? 100 percent.
Honors Wilderness Survival
If high schoolers fail all of the above classes, this one will be their saving grace. Topics of interest include:
- How to navigate your own city without GPS
- How to couch surf without getting murdered
- Cheapest places to eat that are open after your closing shift at Walmart
- How to live in a camper van and make it look like a fun lifestyle choice
No judgment. Just practical tips for hanging in there while you're still figuring it all out. We might as well brush up on our skills now, just in case.