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Are young adults today lacking life skills that inhibit them to determine an individual life track?

So I'm an Asian American raised under immigrant parents who came to this country to start a family. Therefore, I wasn't taught much about the system pertaining to everyday life skills. For example,

*How to do taxes
* What taxes are
* How to vote
* What political parties are
* How to write a resume/cover letter/anything related to getting a job
* How to write a check/balance a check book
* Anything to do with banking
* How to do loans for college
* How to jump start a car or other basic emergency things
* How to buy a car or house

We are distracted with the free flow of information that we forget how essential these skills are in order to promote confidence for independence.

I understand that these can be learned through parents or as you go on, but what about the 99% protesting on Wall Street? If they knew about credit scores or interest rates, would so many students have taken out those loans?

Throughout my study, I found most high school graduates who are going to college don't have any idea of what they want to study. I believe it is because they lack the confidence to believe in themselves to pursue a higher purpose in life.

I hope I explained my idea clearly enough as this is my first conversation here on TED. I hope to hear from most of you!


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  • Jul 15 2013: Thank you all for replying so promptly.

    I should have done a better job clarifying what the idea is but it's generally this:

    Why are high school seniors unable to determine their life goals?
    Why are so many graduate students failing to find a job?

    Here's my theory:

    They lack the self confidence to decide.

    A student who lacks life skills doesn't have the confidence or self-esteem to be independent. If not independent, then there no ambition to find purpose in life. Which forces him/her to let environmental pressures decide for them which leads to a career path that they're not especially passionate about. Which is essential in order to get a job.

    For example, when I was living with my parents and going to school, I was clueless about my life even after going to a university. After I came back, I decided to move out and live on my own. After learning all those life skills, I realized (had an epiphany) that I had the ability to DO anything. This is the self confidence that all students need in order to be inspired to DO or SEEK SOMETHING.

    Wouldn't all of you agree that if you knew how our society works and what skills you needed when you were in high school, wouldn't you have more self-confidence to decide what major you want to study in college?

    I work in the financial office of my school and I see so many students transfer from Universities to a community college because they can't afford it or their GPA is too low. I'm in the same situation because I didn't care about my academics. Simply because I was studying for the sake of society and my parents and not for myself. I didn't have enough confidence in my self to make that sort of decision.

    So yes, all these skills are learned through experiences or by parents. But why not teach it to them formally, officially, or subjectively? Wouldn't that instill more confidence in students so they can be better equipped to become or do anything in this world.
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      Jul 15 2013: This is something, that in my opinion should be self-explored.

      A person should have enough sense to know what to do in life. A normal person should have some basic knowledge about the world from experience and they should think how they can be something in their life. Its not supposed to be taught, it should be self-realization.

      But sadly even I think that we might have to teach it as a subject to secure one's future.
      • Jul 15 2013: Perhaps you're correct.

        A self-exploration promotes a higher learning experience I agree. Maybe then we can both agree that something practical needs to be done but we shouldn't be negating the experience.

        I simply want us to be more confident in making life choices, but we can't do that without being informed first.
    • Jul 15 2013: "Why are high school seniors unable to determine their life goals? ...Here's my theory: They lack the self confidence to decide."

      No, that's not the issue. They don't, in general, know what their life goals are because they were only BORN 15-18 years prior to that. That's nothing! Especially in a world as insanely complex as ours is now. 1000 years ago, you were the son of a blacksmith, you learned smithy and became the next town blacksmith. Rinse and repeat. Now you can almost be anything, and it is overwhelming.

      It doesn't help that from 4-18 many kids simply pass the time trying to have as much low-effort fun as they can, playing video games, texting, hanging out idly in boring suburbs, riding BMX bikes, etc. There is very little connection to the work world. Contrast that to earlier epochs in which a boy or girl could be apprenticed into a trade as early as 12 years old.

      It's not about confidence--teens have way to MUCH confidence (see Jean Twenge's work). It's about cluelessness. And it's not really their fault: our society doesn't prepare them well. Part of why that is is that everybody is too damn busy, and we feel that the system is working fine the way it is, for the most part, and that if someone is a failure it is because they are a slouch or dumb or otherwise "their fault".

      Your concerns are reasonable, but you're on many red herrings with concerning yourself about balancing your checkbook or jump start a car. Most of what you describe can be learned in literally a few hours. What one needs to think harder about is real career research and development, starting about age 16, slowly at first, and then ramping up to about 19. Also, there is nothing wrong with getting it wrong and trying a few tacks before one settles onto a career...for 5-10 years before the next one! It's that kind of world.

      Let's just be thankful that the U.S. has so much oversupply of resources that most of us goobers can someone float through despite it all!
      • Jul 16 2013: Thanks Randy for your response.

        You bring up some pretty good points. I agree that there is a lack of connection between the working world and the education system. Which brings me to my point of confidence. It's more of the confidence of determining a life track. Not overall confidence necessarily.

        Where does this cluelessness come from? How can we promote those 16 year olds to start considering a career? When I was 16, I was mostly concerned about my SAT scores and my junior prom. I was close minded because I never considered my future goals which stemmed from my lack of self confidence to determine my OWN will as oppose to my parents.

        There is no argument that we're distracted. But there still lies the problem of a huge chunk of young adults that are unable to do what should be done and that is to decide for themselves. Not a guidance counselor or parents.
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        Jul 22 2013: everybody is too damn busy, and we feel that the system is working fine the way it is, for the most part, and that if someone is a failure it is because they are a slouch or dumb or otherwise "their fault".

        PERFECT PERFECT PERFECT I can relate! First time I have ever heard such a thing from another about what crap has been slinging around. Thank you!

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