You’ve probably seen me around here complaining about school, about how much I used to hate it as a kid and so on. Well… the moment of truth is here! I mostly hated school because I had to wake up early almost every single morning. This was killing me. For someone who loves getting a good night sleep and wake up (almost) naturally, it was excruciating. Later, when I got a little older, I realised that school was not teaching me anything useful for real life.
Before you start fracking out, let’s clarify something:
I do not hate or dissagree with the idea and concept of education. I truly believe that education can do a lot of good, but you need to learn how to educate yourself, rather than be educated by others. I’m not against the education, but the system.
Good. Now that we clarified this, there’s another point I feel I should emphasize. Some things on my list I actually learnt in school, but they were not the major focus, so I choose to include them in the list anyway. Here are 23 things school never taught me and I wish it would.
1. The good manners in society
And I don’t mean any fru-fru royalty manners. Basic things like men should take their hats when they go inside, while ladies shouldn’t, who salutes first and so on.
I know what you will say: “Buy your parents should have thought you some good manners!”. True, I agree. They did. But once you start going to school and pretty much live with other strangers in a classroom you need some new social knowledge.
I was lucky enough to have a wonderful teacher who was giving us some tips and tricks about good manners. She was actually reading us some fragments about good manners and I thank her for that; she made me wanna learn more about it.
2. How to be proactive
Stressed out teachers can send only negative feelings.
3. What productivity means
I think we actually learn what productivity is in a hard way during school. With all the classes, projects, homework and maybe some social life, you kind of have to be productive if you want to survive school.
4. How to identify my personal values and stick to them
5. How to deal with money and a budget
I guess we’re not taught how to master a budget because no one actually nails his finances.
6. How to write my CV
7. How to behave at a job interview
School it’s said to ‘prepare’ us for the labour market. Or at least that’s what they told me, they told you something different? When I went to my first real job interview, I realised school taught me pretty much everything but not how to get a job.
8. How to cook
I know this is a skill that you kind of learn by yourself, but… aren’t you suppose to eat in order to survive?
It can be difficult indeed to host cooking classes on a regular basis, but a partnership with a restaurant that will allow bringing a class a few times per year won’t be impossible.
9. How to get directions
Thank God Google Maps was invented meanwhile because I have no idea how to read a traditional map. I know! I’m embarrassed with myself, but I have 0 skills when it comes to directions. That’s probably because I spent almost 20 years being ‘educated’ only indoors.
10. More in-depth social skills
11. How to vote
I’m really annoyed by this one. All they tell you is that it’s your right and you should go vote! But no one tells how the F is done! How do you take the correct decision? Which takes us to my next point…
12. How different political currents actually work
I’m not a fan of politics. But if you study some (real) history, things have the tendency to repeat themselves. Which basically means if you study how and what different cultural and political current did throughout history, you might actually know what decision to make.
13. What and why we pay taxes
… to keep the economy going is not a good enough explanation for a teenager.
14. How to start your own business
I actually had a class that was meant to teach us some basic things about legal issues to start a business. Of course, literature and math were more important so we didn’t get too much time to actually study the subject properly.
15. Our own rights (and obligations) as an individual of the society
Obviously, behave yourself, be nice don’t steal from other people and so on.
I had a class about human right’s and ECthR (The European Court of Human Rights) in the 4th grade. Do you know how old I was in 4th grade? 10! I remember literally nothing because 1. it’s been a long time ago and 2. at 10 I did understood the concept of human rights.
16. How to do groceries
I pretty basic skill for an adult who lives surrounded by other people, I would say…
17. How do document yourself for real
I truly believe that information is power. Being able to document yourself properly and tell which information is actually good and real and not let yourself completely brainwashed and manipulated can prove lifesaving.
18. How to draw the line for pretty much everything
Lots of adults don’t or can’t say “No” and they end up being burnout.
19. Basic psychology knowledge
Maybe they couldn’t anticipate that in 30 years we’ll all be crazy and that they should start thinking about it 50 years ago about this.
But we live in a crazy world where, while someone is dying because they don’t have food to eat, someone else kills himself because – even if he has a home and food to eat – he’s not happy. Mental health is real, is an illness like any other and can be treated. So I think it can be vital to identify when you or someone dear to you start showing signs of depression.
20. Decent public speaking
And saying a speech by heart or read it in front of the class is not public speaking.
21. Everything banking related (credits, debit cards, exchanges rates, etc)
I’m still scared of banks and credits. Because I never actually understood what they’re doing. I’ve always seen the banks as something shady.
22. A good investment mindset
23. First aid procedures
I have a Red Cross First Aid Certificate, which basically means that in case of an emergency I’m capable and certified to apply first aid procedures, in case there is no medical support around. The main reason I decided to learn first aid techniques was that I didn’t want to be useless to the community I was living. I wanted to be able to help someone – stranger or loved one – in case they needed help.
Meanwhile, I also discovered that it made me feel safer and more confident because I know if I’d suffer an accident (and I’d still be conscious) I know what I have to do.
So, what do all these mean?
… you would say. Does it mean that I shouldn’t go to school anymore?
Definitely not! What you’ve just read is the ugly truth of the educational system. If you’re still in school, you probably started to ask yourself questions like “How are all these complicated math equations going to help me figure out life?” or “Why I’m letting someone else labelling me as brilliant or idiot based on a grade?”. We have all been there. Including our parents.
And here is the second ugliest truth of them all: you still have to do it. Why? Because that’s how society works. Without that diploma, your chances of succeeding in life will be lower.
Then what should I do?
Well, as someone who got rid of school all I can tell you is to enjoy it and make the most out of it. Enjoy spending time with your friends and your favourite teachers. Try to identify the good part in everything. In my case, for example, I hated math. Until I realised (even if the things we were learning were not very useful for everyday life) that it was helping me to develop a rational mindset and think more strategic.
Last but not least, use these years to experiment and realise what path you want to follow in life. If you want to become an engineer or a doctor, you’ll need those math and chemistry classes. Also physics.
What are your feelings regarding the educational system? Maybe you’re a parent and your kid is in school. How do you keep him motivated to get to school? What pieces of advice would you give to your younger self about the educational system?
Which other things school never taught you?