man doing laundry
Mayukh Saha
Mayukh Saha
July 10, 2024 ·  5 min read

18 Life Skills You Didn’t Learn In School (But Should Have)

There’s a reason the word “adulting” was coined. Many of the life skills that we need are not taught to us until after we are expected to possess them. People learn differently as they grow up because of their varied upbringings and experiences. Even while education is meant to level the playing field for everyone, it isn’t always helpful. Some talents are not commonly learned since the days of learning home economics or trades in school are long gone. These are only a few of the numerous abilities that we should be aware of in school in case we ever need them as adults.

1. Writing letters and dispatching parcels

A blank letter
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Not all the components of writing a letter—or an email, for that matter—are taught to children nowadays. They are unaware that if your envelope weighs excessively, you will require more than one stamp. They don’t frequently go to the post office, which you’ll find yourself doing more often than you think, according to any adult who has had the distinct pleasure of doing so.

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2. Cooking, including meal preparation, grocery shopping, and meal assembly

Prepping for a meal
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While many adults are forgiven for not knowing how to cook, they were never instructed in meal storage (i.e., when to throw away leftovers so they don’t kill you), making a grocery list, preparing food, or maintaining a well-balanced diet. You cannot throw away any life skills that determine your wellness.

3. Paying bills online, over the phone, or by mail

A blank check
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You must be able to pay your bills even if one of your methods fails. It’s crucial to understand how to pay with a check, over the phone with a card, and online. Just because you do not have such life skills can mean disastrous consequences.

4. Setting a budget

Calculator and a notebook
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Paying bills is only one aspect of understanding money. It involves keeping tabs on your expenditures, seeing patterns in your spending, and having the ability to set financial boundaries when necessary.

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5. Knowledge of all the various types of insurance

An insurance policy
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One of the most daunting yet common aspects of life is insurance, and to be honest, most people sign up for whatever policy they happen to have without knowing what their policies—whether for a car, house, auto, or health—cover in an emergency.

6. The government hierarchy

Government building
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You learn a lot about government, but not enough about local government’s many roles and responsibilities, or about voting registration and reputable source research on the candidates you plan to support. Knowledge about your surroundings is one of the more important life skills.

7. Organizing your home

Organized kitchen
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Before realizing they’ve been cleaning incorrectly, many assume they know how to do it. If TikTok is any guide, this occurs more frequently than you may imagine. Many folks would find it far more beneficial to learn how to keep their homes clean and pleasant.

8. Laundry 

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Proper maintenance of laundry clothes makes them appear better and last longer. Many launderers just put everything in the machine, hit a few buttons, and cross their fingers.

9. Car Maintenance abilities

Jumpstarting a car
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Not many individuals in this nation who drive have the necessary skills to properly repair and take care of their vehicles. It is more than just knowing how to replace a tire.

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10. Using maps, compasses, and other navigation tools without a phone

A compass on a map
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While fantastic, technological improvements are not always dependable. Adults should be able to read maps (which are reportedly being phased out of the national curriculum), use a compass to navigate, and securely ask for directions.

11. Secure social media usage

Image Credits: Unsplash

Social media usage is so commonplace these days that individuals need to understand how to utilize it sensibly. This entails safeguarding not just your digital security but also your identity, handling negative social media responses appropriately, understanding the risks associated with particular online behaviors, and spotting false information online—skills that many adults lack but will become more and more necessary as the generation of tech natives ages.

12. CPR and basic first aid

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Knowing how to do basic first aid, such as preventing an infection from spreading from a cut or performing CPR on someone in need, may significantly impact their prognosis. These abilities might lower the amount of money and time needed for rehabilitation.

13. Emergency Protocols

Emergency door
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There are many more types of crises than medical ones. Although the skills are never emphasized in formal schooling, adults should know what to do in the event of a car accident, how to manage local weather disasters like tornadoes and hurricanes, and more. They should also have a way to get reliable information if their phones stop working.

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14. Writing resumes and applying to jobs

A successful job interview
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Making the transition into employment can be intimidating, particularly if you feel unprepared and have to repeatedly complete the same application.

15. Manners and decorum

Man being a gentleman and helping woman with her chair
Credit: Shutterstock

Although it’s assumed that attending school will teach you social graces, this isn’t necessarily the case, particularly in our increasingly disconnected society. Direct conversations on social boundaries, how to make and maintain friends, how to approach sexual relationships safely and acceptably, and what to do in dangerous or hostile circumstances would be great to see in schools. 

16. Taking care of yourself

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Just think of the society we would live in if we had official training in self-care. Adulthood may be quite different if we know how to listen to our bodies, relax and rejuvenate, and control our emotions. It should be an essential life skill that everyone has.

17. Establishing Objectives

Setting objectives
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While educational institutions aim to stimulate aspiration, they do not impart practical skills such as planning and organizing. We could all use the motivation to follow our passions as adults by setting objectives and engaging in other inspiring activities. 

18. Simple house maintenance

Woodworking at home
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Adults would do significantly better (and save a lot of money) if they knew how to paint, repair a wall, install a ceiling fan, and take care of their appliances.

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