When leaving full-time education at the age of 18, I still felt lost with understanding certain topics that aren’t necessarily taught in school. This blog post discusses subjects I wish I had been taught at school and why.
For me, I never understood what mental health really was until I was affected by it. Over the past year or so, this is something that I have personally struggled with. I never expected to ever have an issue with it, but I do, and it’s something I’m working on (when I have the confidence too I’ll write a full blog post about it). I feel like what would of helped me understand my mental health is creating a mindset about the fact that it’s just as important to look after it as it is to look after your physical health. Knowing about meditation tools such as Headspace, Calm and The Mindfulness App which can be simple to promote throughout education could have possibly improved my wellbeing. I also feel like all schools/colleges/universities should have mental health first aiders. People who have been specially trained to help with talking to others if they ever need to about all sorts of topics. There is little support in education about mental health, and as well as increasing the awareness of it, there should also be more education generally around how and why people are affected by it and the simple, effective tasks that you can do to improve your mental wellbeing.
How To Manage Money
To this day I still find it odd how you are never taught simple financial lessons in school. For example, understanding tax codes, what you contribute to and why. I remember at the age of 16 when I was given my National Insurance card. Everyone in school was eager to get theirs, but did anyone know what National Insurance actually was? I can’t speak for any of my classmates, but I certainly can’t recall having a lesson on it. Even understanding what a payslip looks like, how to pay bills and how to budget your money effectively. I’ve been lucky enough to have been taught by my parents the value of money and how to manage it, but not everyone has that luxury. Some of the fundamental topics could be covered in a classroom, surely?
Sexual Health & Relationships
When I was in high school, I remember having one sex education class. One. That was all. And even in the class, there was that one person who was larking about, which yes, was expected at that age. But in my opinion, more needs to be done around sexual health. I certainly think that there has been a vast improvement in the topic since I was in school, but it can still be improved. Your teenage years are when you start exploring your sexuality and most likely have your first ‘serious’ relationship. Each relationship is unique and has their separate ups and downs, but understanding things such as going through a breakup or who to speak to when you have any questions around your sexual health can also possibly help your mental health. I remember my first breakup and it was not nice (obviously). I didn’t realise until a few good few years later that it really took a toll my mental health. The more open we can be about these topics, the more we can understand the importance of relationships and how they can shape you.
I’ve written about this in another blog post, but this is such an important one to me. I mentioned in the post that one of my teachers point blank laughed at me when I was uncertain of the next steps after A-Levels. I’d done my own research into what was out there for me once dropping out of university, but it shouldn’t be left that late to see the other opportunities you have. Apprenticeships, full-time work, open university, diplomas. None of these things we’re mentioned to me. There needs to be more education around the fact that university is not for everyone and there are a number of options for people once leaving school. There also needs to be more education about basic CV writing, interviewing techniques and employability skills. I have been to many (and I mean many!) job interviews and never got the job. At the time I was frustrated, why was I unsuccessful? It’s just as important to learn about how to accept failure, and that some things are sometimes not meant to be, and that’s okay too.
Is there anything you wish you’d been taught in school? Would you do your school years all over again if you could? Let me know!