Our View: The skills we often overlook

Campus Carrier Editorial Board

With a variety of classes, a number of extracurricular activities, and a student work program, students should be ready for life upon graduation, but are they?

While living away from home as many do in college, students can often find themselves confronted with issues that despite their education they struggle dealing with. How does one change a tire or restart a car? What kind of insurance do I need? How do I balance a checkbook? Despite having earned a degree in three or four years, new graduates can still be left confused and feeling out how to deal with these issues when they arise. We are left with a solid education but a lack of common life skills.

The consequence of not knowing these skills can be dire as any college student stranded with a dead car battery and without jumper cables can tell you. Not only are these skills important in an unexpected crisis, people need these skills in everyday life. People should know how to balance their checkbook or how a credit card works so they do not overdraw and get into debt. A lack of full understanding of bank loans for homeowners is a part of what caused the recession a few years ago. Understanding annual taxes can help people get tax refunds. Basic cooking skills can be needed to live a healthy life without the constant use of fast food restaurants. Being registered to vote is a key part of the democratic process.

So with not knowing these basic life skills being such a problem, why aren’t students taking it upon themselves (and upon Google’s search bar) to find out the solutions to some very basic needs? Part of the reason is that for many of these problems there is no easy solution. It is hard to go to Google and find out how to manage your savings. Also, for many questions—like which insurance to get—you can get a bombardment of sponsored advertisements and still not know where to find real answers.

The second part is not knowing the right questions to ask. For example, a person might not know they need to know how to change a tire until they have to. In many situations, people will not know they should have certain life skills until they have a need for them. You can’t research a topic when you don’t know you need to.

With not knowing these skills still a problem and students in many instances being unable to find the solution for themselves, how can Berry better prepare its students? One way is through the First Year Seminar class, commonly known as BCC. The advisors, having lived outside of college for years, would be better aware of what issues students may face out of college while the mentors would know more about issues students may be unaware of in college. While the seminar already does this to an extent, the program should be expanded to include more issues outside of academic and campus life. By doing this, Berry could develop more well rounded students that are better able to deal with life after college.

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