If you feel like the school system is outdated for the world you’re heading into – you’re right. The way things are done changes so rapidly that by the time it’s published, it’s already being updated.
To top it off, more families are holding schools responsible for your lessons on adulthood. Unfortunately, your teachers are more concerned with you memorizing the powerhouse of the cell, rather than how to do your taxes. We’ve been there, and it’s really frustrating.
Good news: if you’re reading this, you’re already on the right path. Here are some essential life skills we wish colleges would teach, which are crucial to life after graduation.
How to Do Taxes
Many teens already start working well into their high school and college years, but believe it when we tell you they still have no clue what they’re doing.
W-4 (Employee’s Withholding Certificate) Form
If you have started working already, chances are your employer handed you a W-4 form, and you most likely asked them how to fill it out. They’re allowed to inform you what it means, but they can’t overstep the boundaries and give advice. It’s best to get familiar with it ahead of time.
W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement) Form
This is the form everyone gets excited about. You receive your W-2 from the mail or directly from your employer by the end of January each year. It’s a report on how much you made that year, and tax preparers use it to determine whether your refund comes in April.
Who Should Do Your Taxes?
One of the biggest questions come tax season is whether you should DIY it yourself and use tax software or hire a tax pro. Ask yourself some questions to determine if your situation depends on a tax preparer or if you’re fine doing it by yourself.
A common mistake most graduates make is relying solely on their technical knowledge. What truly gets you your dream job is getting recommended or hired by someone that already knows and trusts you. That’s when networking comes in; it consists of meeting new people in a professional context and building a connection over time.
Automobile Issues and Maintenance
We’re not talking about driving lessons and road tests; we’re sure you’ve got that one covered. Instead, we’re pointing out aspects that are often overlooked, and students get behind the wheel without knowing it.
Learning how to do your own maintenance and repairs could save you a ton of money over a lifetime. If you’d rather not risk it, know what your car is telling you and how often it needs work. It’s better than solely relying on a mechanic who’ll probably overcharge you without your knowledge.
How to Handle a Car Accident
As a young adult, the most advice we ever get about car accidents is “don’t get into one,” but that’s unrealistic. Car accidents of all kinds occur, on average, 10 million times per year. It’s better to expect it than to assume it will never happen to you and be unprepared.
Even if you don’t find yourself hurt, get checked always. The longer you wait, the less likely you’ll receive coverage for any injuries you sustain. According to Diamond and Diamond Lawyers, you can receive compensation for lost wages, medical care, and other damages directly tied to the accident.
Handling Finances and Budgeting
Most – if not all – high school curriculums included economics at some point. However, college students are getting a better idea of how expensive everything is and still feel like they could use some help. Along with budgeting, money-saving skills like cooking can also help put aside money in the long run.
College is a great time to start learning how to use a credit card, monitor your credit rating, and train yourself to pay your bills in a timely fashion. It’s also the most common time for students to become a victim of predatory lending companies and fall into debt. Use free resources to monitor your spending habits, and give yourself time to think before making large purchases.
The Importance of Physical and Mental Health
We’re familiar with the “Freshman Fifteen” and endless nights of cram studying while downing everything that is loaded with sugar and caffeine. Nutrition and fitness are the last things on your mind in college, but trust us when we say you have to address it soon. There are better ways to cope with stress, and you’ll need to transition to a healthier diet when your metabolism slows down.
What to Expect After College
It’s not too late to master these skills to boost your career and quality of life. Be smart, anticipate what could happen, do your research, and you can find yourself five steps ahead of the rest.