What I Wish I Learned in School
by Alina Wilson
I wish I had learned how to use a parking garage in school. In my mind, I can still hear the metal of my car scratching the side of the parking garage, scraping off the beautiful blue paint in chunks, as my inexperienced hands attempted a three point turn in the entrance. I remember the sound like I remember the mailman hitting the windshield in the television show Glee. I didn’t find the missing piece of my car till an hour later, but I am certainly glad I learned how to solve quadratic equations in school instead.
In a world in which girls are banned from schools when it’s their time of the month or simply barred from the whole institution in general, I am lucky to go to school. I value my education and understand the importance of learning the basics. I truly do… yet in some moments, I wish school taught more practical skills: like how not to total your car. Much of the information I believe should be taught in school, however, lies in a gray area. Is it the school’s job to teach me how to use a credit card? Is it my parent’s? The Internet’s? Somehow, this important information often falls through the cracks, like when centerfield, leftfield, and the second baseman all run to catch a pop fly and then stop as it falls in front of them. Except life is the coach that yells at you when the balls drops.
One of the things I wish my early education incorporated more (and that I am grateful for in many of my high school courses) is a connection to the real world, an answer for the usual question in school, “Why are we learning this?” History only became interesting to me when I realized how important history is to understanding modern economics, politics, and current events. This new knowledge makes memorizing dates and clauses of the Constitution much more bearable. Art class became infinitely more interesting when I realized that even for those who didn’t like art, simply creating challenged the brain and our perspective of the world.
While I understand the importance of learning the fundamentals, I believe schools have a greater responsibility to educate the young person, not just the student. This includes teaching important life skills, such as proper use of credit card, how to do taxes, and perhaps even how to use a parking meter. Additionally, when students reach a certain age, they should learn the “why” behind what they are learning, giving meaning to their studies. I wish I had learned so many things in school– how to register to vote, how to know something is a scam, how to sing on-key–yet although I know our education system needs improvement, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to go to school nonetheless.