It’s an opportunity for high school seniors to get a realistic look at what it’s like to be an adult.
Students are sent out into the community with a fictional pay stub, and they pretty much get to learn about how that pay stub lasts — or doesn’t last — in the real world. Young people find out what it takes to buy a car or a house, pay taxes, shop for groceries frugally, etc. You know, all the stuff we adults still haven’t figured out.
It’s a great teaching idea, and it’s a great way for the school to make connections with the community, as dozens of businesses participate.
I dropped by a few of the sessions to listen in as an impartial member of the media, and I have to admit, I learned a few things — things I wished I’d have known when I was just 18.
But with the extremely important things I saw these young people learning, I thought of several things about “adulting” that were left out.
I thought I’d share a few of them.
When you’re an adult, sometimes the heat stops working in the middle of the night, in the middle of December, and you have to figure out what to do. Freeze to death is not the best option. Cuddle together for warmth is a good one.
Adults sometimes get bats in the house, and despite the fact that every expert bat biologist tells you they are harmless, bats are not. They are terrifying. And they tend to fly right at your face. And everyone else in your family will expect you, the adult, to kill the bat — and even though you raised them to be kind, reasonable and merciful people, they will want you to kill it as brutally as possible.
When there’s a bat in the house, it’s as though you don’t even know these people anymore. They become feral, primal beings.
There will be a moment, while you’re trying to get rid of the bat, when you realize the horrified screams you are hearing are actually coming from you, the adult. And your loving family will never look at you with respect again.
When you’re an adult, you might receive a letter from the IRS, informing you that you made a couple mistakes on your state tax forms — four years ago — and you now owe them several hundred dollars, which you must pay by the end of the month, because if you don’t, the entire world economy could collapse and a lot of people you care deeply about will very likely be eaten by zombies. You will have no way to argue with the IRS, you’ll just have to take their word for it.
Also, if they don’t get their money, they will possibly send goons to your house, who will do things like break your kneecaps or, worse yet, change your Netflix password to something that, as an adult, you’ll never be able to remember.
When you’re adult, it’s possible that the pipes are clogged, and your basement has become a sewer. Until the pipes are unclogged, you’re going to have to head on over to the convenience store every time you need to use the bathroom. While you’re at the convenience store, using their facilities, you’ll probably feel obligated to buy something that isn’t good for you at an outrageous price.
Oh, and your shower is going to have to wait a while. Saturday night date night might have to be canceled.
It’s good that we teach the younger generation some of the potential hazards they are going to face when they enter the adult world, and I really do wish I’d have gotten the opportunity to take an “Adulting 101” class before I actually started adulting. I would have probably made a lot fewer mistakes.
Then again, I wanted to tell those high school seniors that, although those lessons are important, don’t grow up too quickly.
Sometimes we get so caught up in adulting, we forget about living.
It’s too bad that by the time you finally get good at being an adult, you’ve forgotten the joy of being a kid.
If it were possible, I’d like to be a little of both.
Maybe someday, there’ll be a class for that.