Do you remember sitting there in school, twiddling a pen between your fingers staring out of the window thinking ‘when the hell am I ever going to need this complicated algebraic formula’? When you were learning about laws of motion, or constructing pieces of (dreadful, untuneful) music in Sibelius, and just thinking this is not enriching my life what so ever? I sit in my everyday life now wondering idly, why on earth didn’t they teach me this in school?
There are so many things we learn in school that are pointless in adult life. Yes, they provided a more rounded view on the world, and have given us knowledge that we would probably never acquire at and older age, but there is much that we learnt that has never been of any use. When you thinking about how much time was spent on this, it frustrates me, because there is so much stuff that would help us in day to day adult life, that when I was in school, I never even realised was a thing:
- Reading fuse box meters
OK, so maybe this is just me, but when I read the meter on my electricity and gas meter, I wasn’t sure which numbers to use. I think, somewhere, I knew that I had to discount one, or two, somewhere, but I had no idea from where. It would be a single, incredibly useful, half lesson to show everyone this, and would leave many people trying hard to adult feeling less rubbish about their foray into adulthood.
- Reading wage slips
I am going to admit that sometimes reading my wage slip is still confusing. I have between 10 and 15 different things going in and out of my wage slip every month, and sometimes I have no idea which is what thing. Yes, there is a useful section that tells me how much I earn, and how much I actually take home, but I like to at least try and keep a track of individual elements of my finances. I did a whole post on wage slips which you can read here.
- Standing orders and direct debits
I can definitely, categorically say that I am still not 100% which one is which when it comes to Direct Debits and Standing orders. I know I have both, and I know they mean that I have to think less about savings and bills, but someone explaining this clearly in school would have been, well, invaluable. I am sure it is simple enough, but it just doesn’t click in my brain, so a quick lesson on this would have been pretty good. I am sure I am not the only one who thinks this, right?
I know that a pension will allow me to retire before I am completely decrepit and incapable of doing anything, but I don;t think I quite realised how important it is to save for one early. I can remember reading somewhere, or being told by someone, that the earlier you start paying in, and the more you do now, the better it will be when you’re older. I feel like this is blindingly obvious, but it still took someone to spell this out to me to realise. I signed up as soon as I started my job, and I am glad I did, as I don’t notice it leaving my wage now. I actually did a whole pensions post, which you can see here.
I understand that bills are a thing, I pay them monthly for everything, and so far, nothing has been cut off. I just wish someone had, at some point, sat me down in a class full of my peers and said, there are so many more than you realise there can be. And not only are there more than you are aware of, but you will forget when they go out, so order them according to your pay! Sounds easy enough once you’ve started paying them, doesn’t it?
- Useful phrases in languages
Do you remember sitting in MFL classes and thinking that learning all of these bizarre phrases about school subjects and classroom objects was completely useless for adult life? You were right, past Liz, very right. I wish we had focused on useful phrases, about getting lost, and healthcare, and conversation starters, or even just ”How do you speak English?” in more languages, to make it less embarrassing when I travel.
Do you know what, I wish we just learnt languages earlier, and dropped the ”yeah, well the rest of the world speaks English so who cares” attitude that we, and more so America, seems to have.
- Basic Life Support
OK, so this is more a gripe about English schools and curriculum, but I really wish that BLS was on the school curriculum for everyone, and was a necessary part of education, because one day, if you need it, it will literally save a life. When will Pythagoras do that?
As you can probably tell, this started off as nothing more than a minor rant, and could have turned into something majorly arse-y, so I’ve stopped. I am sure there are 1001 things I have missed off, so, what do you wish they had taught you in school?