For many college students, the goal when attending a university is to become more educated.
But when does education meet common sense, or do they even correlate at all?
Students graduate with a degree specific to the emphasis area that they chose to learn.
All students will listen, interpret and retain the information given to them differently, even if they chose the exact same educational paths. And each student will pay thousands of dollars to be taught this information.
When these students walk across stage and accept their diplomas, they are not automatically equipped to handle life’s challenges.
Their career trail may be a little more blazed than a person who did not attend college, but an education does not necessarily imply intelligence.
Not all life skills can be taught during a student’s short time at a university, but there are some important ones that remain unaddressed even after 17 years of schooling.
The skills I’m specifically referring to are what could be known as “street smarts.”
It is increasingly remarkable how many people reach their mid-20s without the know-how to accomplish tasks most American citizens are faced with.
If you need a good example of this, visit the Department of Motor Vehicles. The DMV is a place all car owners will need to visit at some point, but most people who walk in are either half prepared or totally lost.
It takes a process of trial and error for most people to complete a task such as registering a vehicle, not to mention a pile of wasted hours.
If you’re still not convinced, and you exited the DMV with your sanity intact, then try talking to somebody in their mid-20s about how a mortgage works. Note the look on their faces as they answer “I don’t know.” But I guarantee that if you asked them to write a ten page scholarly paper about World War II, they would not blink an eye.
The ability to write on a collegiate level is a handy skill to have, but I doubt future bosses care about that as much as they care if you can write a professional résumé, which is another skill many people lack even as they receive their diplomas.
There is no reason why these simple skills cannot be taught in the four years students spend “preparing for the professional world.” Certainly these skills should be acquired after the amount of money that is invested into said “education.”
Less time should be spent focused on how to write a decent response question, memorizing and regurgitating information and filling out bubble sheets.
More time should be spent teaching individuals how to balance a checkbook, purchase decent insurance, write a résumé, identify good loans and interest rates, pay taxes and make educated choices on large purchases.
It is increasingly more common to find people who do not have the ability to calculate a tip on a receipt or count change back after a purchase, and often these people have college diplomas.
The educational system cannot be blamed entirely because many times it comes back to the individuals desire to acquire these skills outside of the class room.
Educational systems should take a second look at what areas of instruction they choose to focus on and consider how those taught skills are going to be applied by their students when they leave campus. There should be more correlation between an “education” and the skills that people label as “common sense.”
To quote lawyer, Civil War veteran and political leader Robert Green Ingersoll, “It is a thousand times better to have common sense without education than to have education without common sense.”