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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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  • Aug 7 2013: You are right. As a college professor of more than 25 years of experience, I would say that American young people have been shortchanged in the last 30 years by an increasingly failing educational system--K to College. Right now our system does a poor job of teaching the facts as we know them, good critical thinking skills to deal with those facts, and a good work ethic. When I was young we got life and school lessons every day. We were basically presented with a simple equation--the harder you work, the better you will do. This still true today, but hard work is 'so last year man....', and young people grow up not ever learning what only hard work can teach you about yourself. In other words, mowing the lawn is just as important as knowing your times tables. One way to look at this goes to your point about knowing interest rates and would that have meant those who couldn't afford them not taking the loans. The answer is NO, it would not have affected the outcome significantly. Why? Because when you grow up never having faced the consequences that only hard work can show you, then you will not take the threats of bad things happening as a result of certain behaviors seriously. Simply put, hard work is a great metaphor for life. If you aren't careful and fall off the ladder painting the kitchen wall, you never forget it. Those physical experiments and 'burnt fingers' help us understand the abstract hypothetical consequences of not having enough money. But when we don't have any of those physical experiences, we are less capable of generalizing to other life events. Another way to put it is that hard work teaches us common sense, and common sense would tell you not to take money you can't pay back. Also, hard work helps us develop confidence in ourselves. No matter how smart you are, nothing teaches you how to meet the fair and unfair challenges of real life like hard work. Time to stop the fluffy nonsense in US education and get back to hard work and basics.

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