There are certain moments in the chaos of adult life where I find myself distressed and conned. My parents seemed to navigate their adult lives effortlessly, preaching to me that all I needed to do was excel in school and the rest would work itself out. With that philosophy, I went to college and then swiftly on to graduate school. Don’t get me wrong: I am fortunate to have received a damn good and well-rounded education, between dissecting the intricacies of Structuralism and memorizing the happy hour specials at all of the bars in my college town.
However, I think we can all agree that while most of our collegiate, or even high school, education had plenty to offer in the realm of theoretical knowledge, there was a dearth of real-world, 21st century practical knowledge. Navigating adult life post-grad is a labyrinth of confusion that makes Daedalus’s work look like child’s play.
Based completely on my own idiocy, here are the classes I desperately would have liked to take during my undergraduate career:
1. The Casual Differences Between a W-2 and a W-9: How to Avoid a Date with the IRS. My father still does my taxes. That’s just pathetic. Anytime I fill out a tax form, I break out into a sweat. Am I still a dependent? I’d like to think I’m independent. I don’t answer to anybody, damnit! Better call Dad just to double-check. This class would also provide students with instructions on how to fill out credit card applications, insurance policies, and loan payments. If it’s an official paper with any potential legal consequences, it gets covered.
2. Furniture Assembly, Sponsored by IKEA. As of this moment, the methodology I employ when building furniture is this: call my boyfriend (employed by the Swedish Meatball Emporium, as I affectionately call it), have him pick up the piece of furniture, and watch him build it while I sip some quality riesling. In this class, IKEA would bring in some of its quality builders–or better yet, a shirtless and sweaty Tom Hiddleston–and demonstrate how to build basic furniture that every apartment needs. Bonus: Hiddleston, the real life Disney prince, would then come around and help each student individually while reciting the instructions in iambic pentameter.
3. Eating Properly. People in the post-grad world just aren’t going to be impressed with a pizza and Budweiser habit. It’s not necessary to become a master chef/cicerone/sommelier, but some things are worth knowing. This class would teach the students how to master five basic dishes and what beverages best pair with each. The final exam would be one bangin’ dinner party. The student with the highest grade would get to open a bottle of champagne with a sword.
4. Alphabet Soup: Your Life is Now in Acronyms. What the actual fuck is an IRA? Or a HUD 1? Or a CD? A full semester need not be devoted to this. Honestly, someone should just develop a required reading textbook with all of the necessary acronyms and what they mean. Someone get on this immediately.
5. Common Yet Necessary Phrases and Pieces of Etiquette For Travelers. Many of us have the desire to travel abroad. However, because most Americans aren’t given the benefit of learning a second language early in life, we are hopeless at effective communication in languages other than English. No one really needs six years of Latin. However, if you get yourself lost in any country, it would behoove you to know a few key phrases: “Please.” “Thank you.” “Check, please.” “Where is the bathroom?” “How do I get back to the hotel?” “What’s your phone number, you sexy stranger?”
And there you have it: a list of things I was disastrously unprepared for the day following my graduation.