5 Things High School Didn't Teach Me (But Should Have)



We tend to discover after graduation that there are things we were never taught in high school but probably should have learned. Many young adults don't enter college and/or the workforce feeling prepared for what they encounter. Had my high school teachers taught me a few simple life lessons, I might have had more initial success and motivation in college and the workplace.

1. Applying for Jobs

Writing a resume and cover letter are skills many learn after high school. Unfortunately, there are many examples of poorly-written resumes and cover letters that simply needed editing and personal voice. Recent graduates aren't always aware of the skills they possess or how to "sell" them to potential employers.

2. Choosing a Degree or Vocational Program
Transitioning into college can be intimidating. Schools are finally starting to recognize the importance of transitioning students from high school to college, but resources can certainly still be improved upon. Students can save time and money by beginning to prepare for college in their early high school years.

3. Understanding And Preparing Taxes
If you asked me which tax credits I qualify for, I would not be able to tell you. Many graduates can't even tell you the difference between a 1099 or a W-2. Teaching high school students about taxes and tax credits is beneficial for when they are applying for jobs and filing taxes. Taxes are something most adults are obligated to file every year, yet many are unsure what gets deducted in their paychecks and why, not to mention how to file their own taxes.

4. Responsible Investing

Let's face it, most high school students aren't thinking about investing money. We don't even think of college as an investment; we consider it an expense. It is a costly investment that promises its own rewards. For those of us who have made that investment and are now in the workforce, saving up for retirement is often confusing and frustrating because many of us face a high cost of living.

5. Public Speaking
Public speaking skills are invaluable as adults, yet, in high school, students who aren't on the debate team don't often get public speaking experiences. This skill is something young professionals end up crafting in adulthood by trial-and-error as part of their higher education and/or workplace experiences.


High school taught me many things, but the life lessons I learned afterward have been most meaningful. For those of you just starting out in your post-secondary educations or careers, you will find yourself learning many important new skills. "Adulting" might seem hard, but once these lessons are learned, life can go a little more smoothly.

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Tags: education

Comment by Brian Rock on October 24, 2017 at 8:06am

Agreed 100% on public speaking. Kids are afraid of it, and too often we don't challenge them to do it. But that's the only way to get comfortable and be better at it. I insist on making my students do some form of speaking or presenting in front of the class on a regular basis.

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