Davis was wonderful. I hadn’t planned on going to Davis but I know it was easily one of the best decisions I ever made. However, as a post grad I have a few bones to pick with the college education system. Or maybe it’s just 1 large bone.
College, I really could have used a class on growing up. I sat at my desk for a solid hour today going to the various websites I have bills with. This includes Citibank for my student loan, Toyota for my car, AAA for my insurance as well as mint.com and golden1.com for bank statements. Oh and paying $307 for my car registration with DMV (FML). Flipping back and forth between all these websites and making new budgets to get through a hard month has really taught me a thing or two about being an adult. Primarily that it sucks, but also that it’s expensive. And the fact I’m still paying for an education that has already produced a diploma is somewhat bittersweet. But it would have been really nice to be forewarned about the hard, rough, dog-eat-dog ways of the real world.
For example, DMV sent me my car registration bill in January. I made a mental note to check back in a few months when the time came to pay a $242 registration fee. Thinking it was in May, I open my file folder this morning with all my bills in neat, labeled folders and nearly pass out when I see the due date as 4/12. My eyes scan the bill and in a quaint little box are late fee intervals, laughing at me. Being nearly 3 weeks late equated to an additional $65. Now, I’m just livid. Pacing around my bedroom in my pajamas, it’s far too early to be this mad. I call Rob, talk his ear off about the inequities as he listens patiently for my blood pressure to go down (old much?). I’m furious with myself for missing a deadline but also peeved that DMV couldn’t bother sending me a bill less than 3 months away from when it was due. I mean CMON, January for a bill due in April? RUDE.
Also embarrassing but true, I filed for an extension on my taxes. Since I was still a student for most of 2010 (I didn’t start my full time job until Nov 2010), I only made about 10,000 give or take last year. This means my taxes should have been a breeze. However since this was my first year being an adult, I didn’t ask my Dad to do my taxes and since I’m an irresponsibleadult, I also didn’t learn how to do my taxes. Because I’m cheap, I didn’t want to pay someone to do my taxes so thus I filed for an extension. I know we learned how to do taxes in econ senior year of high school. However, 4 years later when I actually need to recall how to do them I simply can’t. So there’s another weeks worth of curriculum that could’ve been added to this “growing up” class in college.
There are other skills and instances that a growing-up class would’ve been useful for. When I got my first “real” paycheck working a 9-5 job, my eyeballs nearly popped out of their sockets when I saw that 1/3 of my paycheck was gone. I mean, when you used to make max $400 a month, taxes are a breeze. Now, its like a full blown tsunami every month. I was in e-mail correspondence with my HR rep about EVERYTHING: my missing paycheck, benefits, vacation time; she was basically my new life adviser (Thanks Jody!). Then there comes that awkward time when your parents start asking you to pay for things yourself. My parents have been gracious enough to pay nearly all my bills for the 22 years leading up to college but as soon as that first paycheck rolled in, it was time for the bird to fly the nest. Since they don’t have the heart to kick me out of the house (pshhh they love having me), they did ask me to start paying for my own car insurance on the new car I was purchasing. When I called AAA to figure it all out, my customer rep talked me in circles about what types of coverage, deductibles, etc I needed and I managed to muddle through to find proper coverage. That being said, it’s very easy to get conned by people who know you’ve never done it in your life.
Maybe it could be part of a Humanities Course. “Humanities 69: All the ways the world will screw you for the rest of your life” (Check out the abbreviation: Hum69… bahaha sorry I couldn’t resist). Or an Econ class named “Econ99 : the Government will take all your money”. Or a Political Science class called “PS101: Nothing in life is free, especially freedom in the United States”. Anyways before this entry goes down to Bittertown, USA (oh, it’s already there?) I recognize the fact that college isn’t set up to teach us real world skills. I know that I should’ve just taped my DMV bill to the bathroom mirror, or I should have learned to file taxes like all the other responsible human beings in the world, but I can’t help feeling that after 4 years of painful tuition, there would have been one class that taught me how to grow up.
You know what I did learn in college? How to make jello shots.