What use is your extensive knowledge on brain surgery or biotechnology if you’re depressed? Or broke? Or ill? Universities and colleges offers classes on very specific skill sets—granted, important ones that you need to earn a living—but they don’t often offer the types of life lessons that everyone, no matter their field of study, needs to know. Here are 10 life classes colleges should teach and make mandatory right away.
In college, so much focus is put on getting a job after school, it feels like you’re “supposed” to be happy with that job—everybody wanted one, right? Something many new graduates don’t expect is that their first couple of jobs might be depressing, boring, monotonous, and make them feel disconnected from the overall goals of the company. That doesn’t mean those jobs are not important; they are stepping stones and they teach people how to value a paycheck. But classes should be taught on having the right mindset while working your first string of menial jobs, and how to turn those jobs into something better.
The gym you can afford as a recent graduates won’t be nearly as nice as the college gym was. Oh yeah and that food “budget” your parents had you on in college is just not realistic any more. Say goodbye to Whole Foods and hello to dollar stores and generic markets. If there was a class that taught kids what luxuries they can realistically keep, and what they must get rid of when they’re paying for themselves, it would make the transition much less jarring. The class should also teach budget options for the luxuries students just can’t say goodbye to.
Only psychology students really get the gift of learning how to spot an abusive relationship. But, if you think about everyone you know, you probably know plenty of people who have fallen victim to abusive relationships—relationships that have drained them of energy, killed their sense of self worth, and even sent them into depression. Everyone should be required to take a class that helps them understand in detail how to spot abusive relationships before it’s too late.
When you’re on your school’s or your parent’s medical plan, you just say yes to everything the dentist/doctor suggests. But you shouldn’t! There should be a class that teaches students about every situation in which there will be hidden fees and upsells disguised as necessary items.
Many colleges offer a negotiation course, but it typically applies only to business. What about negotiating to get…a better hotel room? A better model of a car? Half your medical bill taken off? You can always negotiate if you know how to.
The price on an apartment that the landlord neglected to mention is next door the busiest fire station in the city. An employer overly-eager to give you a job in which you’ll be asked to do the work of five people. There are plenty of times in life that things will look too good to be true, because they are. But eager, wide-eyed recent grads will jump on them because they don’t know any better.
Too many people wait until late in life to start investing, and there are not enough groups or people encouraging recent graduates to do it. But everyone can benefit from putting aside just a few hundred dollars a month and investing. There should be a class that teaches students about when to invest, the different types of investments, how to find a good financial advisor, how to set goals for money made on investments and more.
Not just how to interview: there needs to be a class that gives long lists of resources on networking groups, training centers and job finder services. There should be a few days dedicated to courting a potential employer, or the appropriate way to ask someone in a higher-up position for help. What about the emotional component of being unemployed? That should be addressed too.
One class should be completely motivational, inspirational and, to put it simply, about what really matters in life. As we get older, our brains trick us into thinking that things like travel, volunteer work, love, time in nature, art and creativity are a waste of time—that they’re “besides the point.” When, in fact, they are the point. There should be a class that instills a never-dying passion in students for the things that really matter in life.
Today, we’re subjected to articles that tell us we’re not thin enough, we don’t run fast enough, we don’t shop at the right grocery stores, we’re evil because we still eat (insert the million foods deemed by dieting trends as “bad”). It’s overwhelming! Before leaving college, there should be a class that is taught by both a nutritionist and a psychologist to cultivate a healthy mind-body connection in students.