Cartoon by Brynne Barnard-Bahn

EDITORIAL: SCDS should have a life skills elective

With Country Day juniors and seniors rapidly approaching the end of high school, many are becoming increasingly aware of their lack of practical life skills.

“I feel like I could be better prepared for college,” senior Jackson Fox said. “I could really use a touch-up on taxes and personal finance.”

A lack of preparation for college life and life outside their parents’ homes can set students on a collision course with stress and anxiety in their early years of adulthood, if not worse.

A practical solution to this problem would be to add a practical life skills elective into Country Day’s curriculum. 

Topics covered in the class could cover anything from personal finance, self-care and home education and transportation and automotive skills.

“Once you turn 18, you’re left in college to support yourself financially,” senior Samrath Pannu said. “It’s important that you’re ready.”

As for personal finance, students would learn the skills required to be fiscally responsible. 

“Some topics I’d really be interested in would be investing, sustaining yourself economically in college, finding a job and tips on buying property,” junior Orlando Ponce Blas said. 

Students could also learn money-related skills such as managing taxes and taking out loans and maximizing future economic success for students. 

For self-care and home education, students should learn skills such as basic first aid including CPR and how to save someone from choking. They would also benefit from a curriculum about dieting and even how to schedule doctor appointments. 

Additionally, the class would cover tasks such as how to cook dishes from scratch, how to sew and basic home maintenance such as plumbing, electrical work and damage repair.

Students would also learn key transportation automotive skills such as navigating a subway, how to travel by bus, checking car fluids, engine troubleshooting and knowing what to do in the case of a car accident.

“Learning about how to jumpstart a car and how to change a tire would be very important,” junior Liam Kaschner said. “We just need a class that can teach us.” 

“I’ve watched a couple of videos about loopholes in property-owning, but they aren’t very thorough and are sometimes hard to follow,” Blas said. “I feel like in a class it would be way easier to understand and comprehend topics.”

When these practical life skills are taught through a curriculum with engaging activities, students are more likely to retain the information rather than learn it on their own.

We recognize this has been attempted before. Up until 2012, biology teacher Kellie Whited taught “College Health and Nutrition.” It covered personal budgeting skills, dorm life, nutrition and even laundry.

Unfortunately, the class had to come to an end when Whited started managing Sacramento State internship programs for students. 

“I think the elective (if added back) would be really valuable,” Whited said. “Once you get to college it becomes a little late to start thinking about learning life skills. You’ve gotta get those nailed down beforehand.”

Additionally, adding a practical life-skills elective would have a net positive impact on the school’s public perception. 

Not only would Country Day be known for being a diverse, academically challenging school, but it would also be known for properly preparing its students for the real world, allowing them to dodge typical stresses as they pursue and achieve their dreams.

— By Staff

Originally published in the Dec. 13 edition of The Octagon.

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