Skills No One Has in High School


Sophomore Yamilex Arias holds up a sign expressing her lack of skill. Photo by Donovan Brooks.

Yamilex Arias, Editor

This year, I let my dad choose my electives. Usually for someone like me, classes like Journalism, Art, or History of Pop create an escape from the clutter and demands from AP classes and english or science projects. This time it was different though.

We live in a generation where we don’t get to have the same carefree teenage years our parents did. I don’t know what “being young” is. I know what it means but I haven’t lived it, and I doubt I will. I don’t sneak back home at 1 AM on weeknights, I don’t go to football games on Friday nights and go to house parties. I live like a hermit in a world where the only thing I know is pressure. In a moment of being young in my own way, I let my dad choose my classes and personally, it was the best idea I’ve had in a long time.

This got me thinking about everything else I was probably robbed of and what new expectations that people, specifically adults, have about me. Recently, a former Stanford dean shared what they thought were skills that every person should have by at least 18 years old, and I have exactly zero.


Everyone young person should be able to talk to strangers.

I get this one. There are seven billion people on this earth, you can’t know everyone and there are times where you’ll have to meet new people. However, I also know a little thing or two about stranger danger. As a kid, everyday I got a lecture about the bad man who was going to abduct me and sell my body parts on the internet just because I approached him when he offered candy. Even though I know better, that fear my mom instilled in me isn’t going away anytime soon.

An 18-year old should be able to find their way around.

This one is simple, I have Google Maps, so it doesn’t count.

A young person should be able to manage deadlines, workload, etc.

I think this is a skill I might actually have but one I’m  very poor at exercising. It’s like when you’re watching Netflix and remember homework but there’s one more episode, so you continue watching it a little more stressed out. This is something that I could improve within the next two years, but I can’t say that a lot of people my age feel that way. Time management is hard already and only gets more difficult when you factor in different circumstances everyone has.

Time management is important but not always possible.

An 18-year-old must be able to contribute to the running of a household.

This actually made me a little mad, mostly because I had no idea that it’s a thing.

“Kids don’t know how to look after their own needs.”

I think about anyone could disagree with this point. I get that contributing to the functioning of a home is productive, but I think that a lot of us look after ourselves better than our parents could. Often times teens have jobs while staying in school and take care of their parents. It’s not fair to discredit some of the efforts people are making.

An 18-year-old must be able to handle interpersonal problems.

I felt a little offended by that. I think I know more young people with a competent emotional intelligence than I know adults. I think a lot of the time, adults disregard the idea that young people are capable of complex, independent, mature thoughts and it boggles their mind when we have something constructive to say. I’ve heard a lot of older people “solve” interpersonal problems by being destructive and toxic with each other, while on the other hand, witnessing people at my lunch table handle disagreements with actual discussions.

At this point, there were three other points which seemed a little important but I didn’t have the strength to respond to. I think we are young, too young actually, to be making decisions like what career we’re going to have for the rest of our lives. Nevertheless, we make decisions everyday. Throughout the article on Business Insider, the author kept calling our parent, crutches, which isn’t too far from the truth, that’s what they are. I couldn’t help thinking though, that people keep underestimating young people, especially teenagers.

Not everyone is like me and they may have all of these “skills” or they many not. However, don’t let what old people or what your “crutches” think or expect of you, define you. You’ll be around longer than they will and will have to live with the choices you make.