What about the important skills?


Abbey Humbert

School may teach what the world of academics thinks is important for adolescents to know, but it doesn’t exactly prepare adolescents for real world.

Quick! You’re becoming the victim of a robbery at gunpoint — what do you do?

  1. Use self-defense mechanisms to protect yourself or
  2. Sing the quadratic formula

Oh wait, right! School never taught you anything that will aid in self-defense; quadratic formula it is then! Belting out the quadratic formula song stuns the attacker — good for you! You run away as the last verse, “all over two a,” floats behind you; the attacker is still stunned that you remember that song from high school. Great job, you’re safe this time. The quadratic formula really knows the trick and saved your life!

Last week after that close call, a couple walked past while taking a nice stroll outside when one of them pulled out knowledge they must have learned years ago in science class. “You know,” they said, pointing up to the wispy clouds in the sky, “those are cirrus clouds, not cumulonimbus as you may think! They may also form in the upper troposphere!”

You go, man! Go get that girl with your cloud knowledge! While you’re at it, throw in some facts about the humidity, too. How about you tell her that the closer the relative humidity gets to 100 percent, the more likely clouds are to form. That’s a real head-turner!

During students’ years of being educated in school, we seem to learn everything under the sun. There are certain things we are taught and learn that, unless we go into a very specific career field, we will never use again. On the flip side, there are other subjects that school doesn’t cover, which are crucial to know as we get older and have to take on more responsibilities.

In school, students don’t learn to function without technology; we are encouraged to use it to learn. Every day, we are sucked into using technology that is readily available at our fingertips. If the power in our homes goes out, how many students know to check if the backup generator is working? I will take a wild stab in the dark and say hardly any.

That shouldn’t be a worry, though; running all appliances and electrical charges through homemade potato batteries you made in the third grade will be a breeze. Just run to Costco and pick up a few 10-pound bags of potatoes, and everything should be set! Hopefully the power comes back on before the potatoes rot.

We learn the stages of photosynthesis by heart, how the mitochondria is the powerhouse of a cell, the quadratic formula, all of these facts about Earth and how to make potato batteries. But who will teach us how to pay our taxes? To balance a checkbook or lease cars? What about learning about what we should look for in a good health insurance plan or maintaining good relationships?

Nobody is going to pick up a dead frog off of the street and impress their friends by perfectly dissecting it like they were taught to in third grade. There will be no pop quiz while vacationing in Egypt about the area of the triangle face of one of the great pyramids.

The point of this, by all means, isn’t meant to bash teachers or schools in general at all. I do believe we gain a great education by going to high school and learn a lot of information that will help us in the future, but at the same time, there are some things students are taught that I just will never understand.

There should be more mandatory life lessons students should have exposure to before they graduate and are released into the world. After all, if I ever get attacked, I’d much rather show off some sweet defensive ninja kicks than my subpar quadratic singing voice.