Here’s a sample course catalogue that would make our first few years in the real world far more enjoyable.
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Have you ever looked back on your degree and thought, “What the hell did I learn that’s actually helped me in the real world?”
With graduation day approaching, it’s time to share an important lesson: though most of us loved college, almost everything that’s truly useful we’ve had to learn the “hard way” — through experience, rather than in the classroom.
I wish I had someone holding my hand the first time I rented an apartment. And I still want someone to sit down and explain how the eff investments work and whether I’m old enough to start thinking about them.
Is this our school’s responsibility? Should those degrees we spend tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars on should maybe focus less on forcing freshman to take sex ed and Bio 101 and instead provide us with courses on how to do our taxes?
Here’s a sample course catalogue that would make our first few years in the real world less about trial and error. Man, how I wish this school existed:
1. Flatting 101: Roommates, Renters and Reason
This course examines the cultural contexts that shape the development of roommate relationships. Emphasis is placed on the steps involved in signing a lease, paying bonds, taking care of rental property, property insurance and tenancy agreements.
After successfully completely this course, you should be able to (1) find the perfect roommate through Craigslist based on your personality and previous flatting situations, (2) set up a house bank account and easily share expenses, (3) pay and receive your bond back in a timely manner and (4) not get screwed over in a rental agreement by a landlord.
The purpose of this course is to help you understand the key elements expected of every housemate. No previous knowledge or skill is required other than an interest (born out of need or desire) in living with other people.
2. Introduction to Credit
Explore the evolution of credit cards, credit score and loans as both theory and practice. The purpose is to provide context for all students in critically thinking about when it’s appropriate to borrow. Students will leave with a strong foundation in understanding the basic credit card structure in simple terms.
Students will be tested on the best way to research their annual percentage rate, the pros and cons of minimum monthly payments and understanding credit line. If time allows, students will also be introduced to credit scores – understanding yours and how to improve it.
3. Investing in the 21st Century
This course covers popular investment schemes including 401k, stock options and basic savings accounts.
Students will learn how to choose the best bank and how to determine what percentage of salary goes into savings. You’ll take away an understanding of basic investment terms such as equity, mutual funds and interest.
By the end of this course, all students will be prepared for the road to financial security and smart investments – so they don’t look like idiots when in normal conversation with adults about such topics.
4. Taxes in Today’s Society: An Interdisciplinary Approach
This hands-on course concentrates on the basics of doing your taxes, mistakes to avoid and stress-relief tactics to implement during tax season.
The objective of this course is to give students enough knowledge to do their own taxes – from filling out forms, organizing receipts, filing deductibles and the ins and outs of hiring an accountant.
Students will be able to (1) fill out a W-2 in ten minutes or less, (2) take advantage of tax credits, (3) increase your deductions and (4) avoid committing suicide during the month of April.
5. The Gen Y Career Revolution: Alternatives to the 9-to-5 Post-Graduation
This course aims to introduce students to the options available to them post-graduation that don’t involve traditional corporate employment. This course will provide you with an understanding of options such as volunteering, travel, freelancing and entrepreneurship, with clear explanations of how these options are just as important and relevant to world economy and society as a traditional job.
After finishing this course, students will have developed a broad knowledge of the various professions and disciplines, as well as tools to help them research, plan and develop for their path post-graduation.
Have a course you would have loved to take to prep you for the real world? We’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments!
Marian Schembari is a blogger, traveler and all-around social media thug. She’s based in Auckland, New Zealand, hails from Connecticut and blogs at marianlibrarian.com.