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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Furman chapter.

In a matter of months, I leave my college bubble for…dun dun dun.. ~the real world~. And you know what? I feel wholly unprepared, and in part, I blame the education system. I can name most of the elements on the periodic table but what I don’t know is how to write a check or give first aid to someone. I know the quadratic formula, but I’m not at all confident on all the different types of health insurance. While some of this is due to personal fault, there are so many practical life skills that without personal research or parental guidance, we wouldn’t know. This is especially devastating for individuals who do not have parental figures they can learn from or access to research and resources.

The following are things I believe should be taught in every state and type of school (private and public) at some point in the United States’ education pathway. 

  1. Personal Finance

Personal finance is something I and many other students my age feel uninformed about. In fact, studies show that the poverty rate is rising in young adults and “about 35% of people are poor between age 20 and 40, compared with 23% who are poor between age 40 and 60″ (Rank and Hirschl 2001). It is likely that this is due to a learning curve. Some things that are important to know before adulthood include how to write a check, take out a loan, the difference between checking and savings account, factors that affect one’s credit score, and tax brackets and how to pay taxes. Personal finance is an extremely intimidating notion, especially when there is so much to learn. Required finance classes in high school would help prevent individuals from going into debt, making financial errors, and boost the economy as a whole.

  1. Comprehensive Sex Education AND consent

It is 2022 and 19 US states still require teaching abstinence only sex education. In all other states, private schools still have the option to teach abstinence only sex ed. Countless research has shown that teaching abstinence is not effective in preventing unwanted pregnancies. Teenagers will have sex regardless, and without learning about contraception options, teen pregnancies will continue, as well as sexually transmitted diseases. What’s further disturbing is that consent education is currently only taught in 8 US states. Consent is one of the most important things for young men and women to learn as they begin sexual and romantic relationships. Young adults are given a disservice by not being taught comprehensive sex education and consent until it is too late.

  1. Health (and all other) Insurance

At 26 years old, we are required by law to be independent of our parents’ health insurance. This is not very long after one leaves college, leaving little time to prepare for this cut off and make a smart decision on which insurance to choose. Individuals whose parents are uninsured do not have the cushion room to wait before buying individual insurance; they are currently at risk for paying outrageous hospital costs if accidents occur and are more likely to be uninsured adults if their guardians do not have health insurance. Differentiating the various types of health insurance is a very daunting task, and one I would have absolutely no idea about if I did not take a public health class in college. Young adults need to be taught about the different types of health care so they can choose what is right for them as well as other kinds of insurance such as life insurance, renter’s insurance, and auto insurance.

  1. Current Events

Imagine if every US student was educated weekly on current political, environmental, and economic news. As this is not taught in the classroom, individuals have to do their own research, and most will not. Misinformation is a huge phenomenon right now that is fed via social media and word of mouth. While this would be complicated, students should be taught about current news by unbiased sources, so they can form their own opinions on the matter. Knowing current events would influence the choices students make every single day, boost creativity, and make them more conscious citizens. For example, learning about the current air pollution measurements in one’s city and what is contributing may encourage individuals to carpool or take public transport, rather than drive on their own. Knowing what world events are taking place would explain why there are shortages of certain materials. And of course, knowing what current politicians are doing in office would lead to young voters making fully conscious decisions when voting.

  1. First Aid

Knowing basic first aid, including CPR, is an extremely valuable skill that I think every student should be taught. You can never predict when medical emergencies take place, and if everyone was taught first aid, these emergencies could be less catastrophic.

While much of the same curriculum is taught in schools across the United States, little address or require classes that help individuals succeed as young, healthy adults. With the other demands of life, students are less likely to do personal research and feel prepared to transition out of school. Above are just some of the topics I believe are extremely valuable for us to learn. If you are a college student who feels the same way as I do, consider taking intro college classes in different disciplines such as Public Health and Personal Finance. I recommend speaking/finding reputable resources that will help educate you on the demands of being an adult. You must take the initiative because the US Education System won’t.




Madison is a Senior Heath Science major and is passionate about the social sciences, womens' health, and environmental health. Outside of HerCampus, she is a member of Futones acapella group and Furman’s Chi Omega chapter. She is a lover of reality TV, singing, hot girl walks, and mid day naps. Following college, Madison hopes to pursue Occupational Therapy.