Over the past few years, there has been a surge in adulting classes offered at US universities.
In one taught by millennials and Gen Z-ers at UC Berkeley, classes teach students how to cook, budget and manage time, among others, in the span of 90 minutes each week.
Adulting refers to being a responsible adult eg. paying bills on time, cooking and cleaning, having health insurance and maintaining a savings account. It also means knowing how to have healthy relationships and how to be professional when interviewing for a job.
Adulting classes have been popping up all over the country, not just offered in universities but also in schools, via private courses and in libraries.
They teach basic life skills such as personal finance, domestic living, interviewing, navigating personal relationships and conflict resolution.
So, at the first of every month, I take a break from whatever I’m teaching and my classes do a little personal finance or ‘adulting’. Why? Because I can (I love being an elective) and because they need to know this!! Credit cards this month! #ITeachGC #MyAgKidsAreCareerReady pic.twitter.com/0MnQhtf8eb
— GCHS Ag Ed & FFA (@GardenCityHSFFA) February 4, 2020
The reason why today’s youth lack adulting skills could be due to an over-emphasis on academics from an early age compared to previous generations, as millennials are the highest-educated generation.
Helicopter parenting often entails parents placing more importance on academics rather than basic life skills like cleaning up after themselves and being financially independent.
But helicopter parenting can’t take all the blame. High schools have also leaned more heavily towards academics and many have done away with offering life skills classes like home economics.
Rachel Flehinger, principal of the Adulting School in Portland, Maine, told Parade, “With kids being busier and having activities, sports and extracurriculars, there’s not as much time sitting around the dinner table and passing down all of that information.
“And then there’s no more home ec and shop in schools; before, even when [the skills] weren’t being passed down at least school was picking up that slack, and now it’s not.”
Adulting classes fill in life skills gaps
— Jesse Lubinsky (@jlubinsky) February 3, 2020
Millennials also struggle with paying off large amounts of student debt, which leads to being financially dependent on their parents or being unable to afford to live on their own.
Being financially responsible is a major aspect of adulting, and while many young people want to be able to manage their finances better, they are at a loss at how to do so.
This has led to several students feeling ill-prepared on how to navigate life after they’ve entered the real world.
A Bank of America/USA TODAY Better Money Habits report published in 2016, Young Americans & Money, stated, “With so many things to teach, high schools and colleges may be falling short when it comes to financial education, and there is a need to fill the gap.
“Of those who attended college, only 41 percent said their college education did a good job of teaching them good financial habits and only 31 percent said their high school education did so. When asked what they wish they had learned more about in school, financial topics occupied the top of the list.”
In the UK, the Department of Education has started offering courses “to prepare students for independent living,” via Leapskills Workshops developed by student accommodation provider Unite Students to Year 12 and 13 students.
While they don’t call it adulting classes, the workshops seem to serve the same purpose by teaching students how to live independently, manage their personal finances, maintain relationships, as well as how to access support.