Illustration by Belinda Mendoza
Illustration by Belinda Mendoza

What we should have been taught

I remember counting the days to my high school graduation. I was ready to start college and live on my own. Little did I know that I would encounter a hurricane of challenges.

It was as if someone had been creating a pile of responsibilities that I didn’t know about and was ready to dump them on me as soon as I graduated. When the moment came to live on my own I discovered what it meant to be an adult — and realized I lacked extremely valuable knowledge.

I understand why we are taught most of the common subjects in school, such as history, English, math, science, and so on. What I don’t understand is this: If education is supposed to create productive members of society, why aren’t children given the necessary information to succeed in life?

I believe we should have been taught the basics of finance, politics and how to fill out common forms, such as tax declarations, in our last two years of high school.

We millennials are often seen by other generations as lazy, job-hoppers and obsessed with technology and social media.

According to Ben Shapiro, writer of the book “The People vs. Barack Obama,” “millennials are the least useful generation in America.”

But consider this: How are we supposed to know what we have never been taught?

Society has a level of complexity other generations did not face. We are not being taught to navigate that complexity and become productive members of society.

These important life lessons are often left to the parents. Being raised by a single working mother, I was no stranger to hard work, dedication, and sacrifice, but my mother barely had time to spend time with my brother and I.

Millennials were born at a time when the divorce rates are at their highest. More than 40 percent of milennials are raised by single parents compared with the 5 percent who were raised by single parents in 1960.

This means that many of us milennials had to spend more time in school and after-school centers than with our parents.

What do we need to do to help create productive members of society?

The answer is still the same: through education.

I believe we should have been taught how to handle our finances, build credit, apply for a job, handle a job interview, rent an apartment, among other important life tasks. We also need to understand how to do our taxes, how the voting system works and what jobs are in high demand.

The millennial generation grew up using the Internet and we have any information we need at our fingertips. The problem with too much information, however, is that it can be counter-productive since important information can get lost.

At this point, especially those of us in college, it’s our responsibility to learn how to these important life lessons.

However, it’s important for the older set to know what obstacles we have encountered so that they can update basic education to teach us the stuff we need to know.

How is that for being a useful generation?

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What we should have been taught