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Opinion: College education doesn’t prep students for life in adult world

OSU students at the Spring Commencement ceremony May 5.

OSU students at the Spring Commencement ceremony May 5. Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editor

As my four years at Ohio State are swiftly coming to a close, I’ve had a revelation: Nothing I have learned has prepared me to graduate.

My classes have taught me the skills I need to know to succeed in my field, with a little background knowledge on anthropology and the patriarchy to throw around at cocktail parties, but there’s still so much I don’t know.

I’m confident that if I get a job, I have the adequate experience to be successful in that role. I’m prepared for a job — even if I don’t yet have one. It’s everything else I’m worried about.

How do I file my taxes? How do I negotiate a salary? How do I buy a car without getting ripped off? My highly touted college education hasn’t prepared me for these fundamental elements of being an adult.

I don’t know how to cook anything, let alone a Thanksgiving dinner, and I’m not sure when I last returned a library book on time.

These might sound like petty #millennialproblems, not worth the brain cells used to worry or read about, but these are the things that keep me up at night. That, and of course the ongoing Winter Olympic Games which are taking place in an opposite time zone.

The idea that I could complete almost any adult task myself without phoning my mom, tweeting about it for advice and asking my neighbor for help is simply laughable. I’m a 16-year-old trapped in a 22-year-old’s body which is really a 16-year-old’s body because I still physically appear too young to be at OSU in the first place.

Every two weeks I accidently let my milk expire and I don’t go grocery shopping often enough to adequately feed myself. I don’t own a snow shovel and I’m almost never dressed in a way that’s seasonally appropriate. That doesn’t sound like a grown-up to me.

My graduation is *probably* inevitable — I’ve already applied and I’m heading toward May 4 like an out of control freight train. College hasn’t prepared me to graduate, but hopefully I can learn about being a real adult on the job.

I don’t really have a choice.


  1. College prepares you by teaching you how to find the information you need without needing to have your hand held to do it.

  2. Maybe you’re just a dumbass.

  3. Maybe you should stop leaning on your parents and grow up and take responsibility. Seems like your parents didn’t do a real good job teaching you about the real world! Simple stuff!

  4. Wait until this millennial doesn’t get the job of their dreams right away. It’s laughable the way people that age think their 4-year-degree is some sort of golden ticket to life.

  5. My buckeye grad and I had this conversation while watching House Hunters last night. The student/mother was purchasing a house because she was robbed. Stop the house parties dear and you won’t be robbed AGAIN!!!!! As a parent it is my job to get my buckeye ready. When she earned her scholarship I took her to the car dealership and put her name on the car with mine (yes compliance I have the funds hahaha) so she would learn the process. We watch Suze Orman together. Her name is still on all my accounts because she’s so great at tracking spending. Her sister went nuts when a MAN got in her head (but she did tell me she got the snow shovel before we got blasted here)!!! hahahaha My buckeye asked my permission to get an off campus apt after roommate Facebook drama. She watched every penny not to bust the budget while her idiot teammates were bragging about running out on leases and not paying bills!!!!!! My daughters have traveled the world with me and managed to stay off Nancy Grace so my advice is to use common sense and if lacking that CALL YOUR PARENTS!!!! Oh she informed a friend recently she has no regrets about her degree because she has to pay her dues!!! Good luck…..

  6. Agreeing with the others. It is laughable you are saying college didn’t prepare you for these things. Well then your parents failed you or you are completely inept. Really… Editor-in-Chief and you can’t do those things and you instead turn to Twitter for advice? I fear this new generation of ‘leaders’ then.

  7. This is really frustrating to me. College isn’t supposed to teach you how to do your taxes, or go grocery shopping on time, or cook, or even negotiate a salary for that matter. In fact, there are a lot of people who are experts at these things that never went to college and never will. I’m not sure which handbook you read or whose opinion you took to heart that said college is supposed to teach you everything you will need to be an adult. College, for all intents and purposes, is for developing you into a thoughtful, empathetic, open-minded, and well-roudned human being. Especially a university like Ohio State. Yes, procuring knowledge is part of that but college serves a greater purpose than just getting a degree. But I’m pretty sure you had to work to get that degree. Becoming an adult is work, too. Just like your good grades didn’t fall into your lap, neither will adulthood. You have to work for it. Learn things. Your college education may have not taught you to cook or do taxes, but it taught you a whole lot that no one else could. And honestly, it’s your job to learn the rest.

  8. I think that this is normal. If people are truly honest with themselves then I think they would find that they are never ready. I just got married. Does that mean that I think I am old enough to get married? Some days, yes. Others, I am just a five-year-old playing house. That was what it was like when I entered high school, got my first car, went to college, and got my first 40-hour-a-week job. Does that mean that I am not capable? NO! And the same goes for you and anyone else who may feel this way. Having these concerns is what will make you go far. It shows that you are aware of your short comings and that will allow you to overcome them. It is the arrogant people who write derogatory things on here that will refuse to ask for help and not make many friends. I can’t say that they won’t be successful (that is a fairy tale we tell bullied 12-year-old children), but I can say that you are a much better person (and this goes to anyone else frustrated with a lot of the above comments).

    Now, good day to you! 😀

  9. If anything, high school should be teaching these things. Kids are required to go to high school; there’s still a lot of them who never go to college.

  10. If this is satire, you are a genius.

    If it’s not.. Well..

  11. That’s what turbo tax is for! And cooking? trial and error.

  12. Durante varios minutos paseé por el campo casi sin participar del distracción, hasta que la
    vi. Cuadro blanca, brillante, enorme.

  13. I simply could not leave your website before suggesting that I extremely loved the standard info
    a person provide in your visitors? Is gonna be again incessantly in order to
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