HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
April 16, 2007, Herald Journal

What they don’t teach in college

By KRISTEN MILLER

I graduated from a five-and-a-half year college, and failed to learn essential life skills necessary for living post college. I swear, they give you a diploma because you studied the courses, and then send you off to fight a war you don’t have bullets for.

Honestly, I don’t know how I survived, if it wasn’t for my parents’ help, I don’t know where I would be today.

Senator Steve Dille plans to address part of the problem in a bill geared toward requiring colleges to offer a course in personal financing. I don’t think “offer” is good enough though, it should be a requirement for all freshman students. This is an essential time to learn how to budget.

The funny thing about college is, you sort-of live on your own, but yet, you still have a backbone, called your parents. So, you’re not completely swimming without a paddle.

If you get into a bind, who do you call? Your parents. When you graduate college and have to pay off loans and high credit card debt that was racked up during those four or more years of college, who are you going to call then?

By age 26, you should be able to take care of yourself in all aspects. But without the proper guidance and education, how can a person get out of debt, or better yet, stay out of debt to begin with?

A simple task of balancing a checkbook is quite necessary in order to prevent overdrafts and becoming penniless a week before the next paycheck. Take it from someone with experience.

I still can’t stay on top of balancing my checkbook. This could have something to do with the fact that my money is spent before I have a chance to sit down and calculate my spending.

But, if I would have learned how to budget my money, I could have prevented those nasty bills that come every day in the mail.

Schools teach math, but they don’t teach finance? I’m pretty sure I would have got more use out of the latter instead of, for example, algebra.

One thing DC students would like back is the FACS program, or the Family and Consumer Science course that teaches students essential life skills such as cooking and sewing. This would be a great class to include budgeting into it because who really needs to learn how to sew? Sewing is more of a hobby than a life skill now-a-days.

Students need to be prepared and have the proper basic knowledge to survive on their own, as well as the three Rs.

With more and more young people racking up college loans and credit card debt just to stay afloat, Dille is on the right track. I just hope he has others in the car with him.