Art by Peau Portesano
We can’t “life,” and Pepperdine isn’t helping our cause. We are all technically legal adults. We’ve come of age, but how many of us actually feel like adults?
Parents seem to miraculously know everything. They know how to pay taxes, how to make fancy chicken dishes and how to make ends meet. But how did they learn this? Who taught them? Have they always somehow known the answers to life? These questions seem to float from the mouths of college students and into the blue void, and no one seems to have a tangible answer for us. Honestly, it appears as if our parents have known how to handle true life, the cooking and the overall “adulting,” since before we were ever born.
When fresh minds arrive at Pepperdine, they expect to have something figured out by the time they throw their hats into a blue sky. They expect to have learned how to “adult” in all its forms. Yet when caps soar, many of us find that we only have the bare minimum of adult skills.
Sure, there is the odd person cooking Le Cordon Bleu–worthy meals sure to make Gordon Ramsey swoon. But the rest of us are stuck heating up Lean Cuisine gourmet meals and figuring out how to work the Keurig in the kitchen. Some may be well on their way to becoming tax specialists, but the rest of us can barely manage to keep our checkbook up to date, let alone be correct. Seriously, who would really choose something practical over a concert ticket? We would all be trying to somehow get into Taylor Swift’s #squad instead of getting a pair of rain boots to prepare for El Niño.
Pepperdine offers so much to us in the form of education and activities, but does it offer Convocations on managing debt or freshman seminars that teach us about what it takes to survive the real world on our own? Many students feel as if they aren’t ready to handle the real world without moving back home first and then getting on their feet. The Clark University 2015 Poll of Emerging Adults found that adults ages 21 to29 felt their education had not prepared them in some key areas. Sixty-six percent of students reported feeling unprepared in handling their personal finances, 68 percent in making political and social decisions, and 49 percent still receive some sort of financial support. The statistics don’t lie. As young adults, we need more assistaance, and Pepperdine can and should be willing to provide more opportunities for such things. We need real-life classes that will prepare us for what happens when we graduate.
We had questions floating through our heads when we stepped onto campus during NSO that were quickly answered: What will my major be? Will my professors like me? Is laundry really that hard?
These fears and the many others we all had were quickly assuaged with the help of our mentors. We didn’t have to worry that much though, for we always had some sort of safety net waiting to catch us when we fell. However, we don’t have the same sort of safety net once graduation comes and we set off into the real world.
After graduating college, we have even more questions: How do we get jobs or get into grad school? Where do we invest our money? How do we pay our mortgages? When does loan repayment start? We still don’t know how to cook chicken. Our college friends scatter across the country (or world), and we can’t just change our major or degree at this point. It’s all up to us, and we really have no idea what we are doing. We don’t have set mentors who are there to guide us and answer these questions in an adult seminar or cheerful NSO workplace leaders to show us the ropes of our new environments.
When asked about the possibility of enrolling in a so-called “adult” class, responses were varied. Some felt that they would be able to figure these skills and lessons out on their own through trial and error in their lives. Others believed that it would give them a starting point to jump off into the real world and might be most helpful during the last semester of senior year.
As we get deeper into our studies, it can seem as if the more we learn, the less we know about the real world. The “Malibubble” is real, but it’s not just a Pepperdine problem: It’s a college problem. A student may be able to give complex analysis of Socrates or discuss literature, but he or she still needs to call his or her mother when filling out forms at the doctor’s office. So the goal should be creating intelligent and scholarly students who, in addition to their academic strides, can navigate the adult world without trepidation.
Perhaps in addition to covering ground in academic fields, there needs to be an emphasis on the importance of investing, the challenges of establishing good credit or even how to pay utilities when they are are no longer included in monthly rent. These ideas may seem trivial to some, but it is evident that our generation — despite being one of the most widely educated — is being launched into the world without the practical skills to manage money or search for jobs. Pepperdine, the ball is in your court. From one group of adults to another, it’s time to make our future success — academic and otherwise — a true priority.
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