Adulting 101 - Part 1

Published: May. 8, 2018 at 2:00 PM EDT
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You've likely heard of the concept - maybe you're challenged by it.

It's the idea of taking on all those everyday, even mundane tasks that adults simply have to do.

And it's a popular term for young adults trying to figure out what it takes to get by in life and realizing they might not have all of the skills to do that.

A lot of people joke these days about how adulting is so hard - pay the bills, make the meals, take on fix-it projects.

But when you don't know how to do those things - simply because you've never been taught them - what do you do?

We found some people who are easing the adulting burden.

It doesn't take much to realize this is not a common course at Husson University.

But what these students are learning sure is.

"Like how to change a tire on the side of the road or just checking your fluids like your coolant, oil, transmission, stuff that you should check often," says Junior Matt Campbell.

This session on automotive care is one of several life skills programs offered to students for the first time this semester.

Resident Director Hilary Platt helped craft the idea.

"You always hear like I don't know how to balance a checkbook, I don't know how to plan financially. So we wanted to be able to do that supplementally, outside of the classroom."

Platt looked around for people who did know something about life's basics and were willing to share.

Like cooking on a budget, building your own first aid kit, do it yourself skin care, even how to sew on a button.

The students have shown up and liked it.

Sophomore Ian Wilson says, "I had a big hole in my shirt I've been meaning to get fixed for a while. So I got that one fixed. It was nice to learn how to do that - good skill."

"Honestly, probably the spa night. I've never actually done that before. I saw the results. The pores were clear on my nose, so that was good," says Sophomore Ben Tubbs.

"Sometimes these are the things that even though they're so important, they're not being given adequate time to."

Rachel Weinstein is a co-founder of the Adulting Collective, developed in Portland almost two years ago.

It's a place for 20-somethings to turn to as they figure out what it means to be a grown up.

Weinstein says they're part of a phase of psychological development called emerging adulthood.

As more of them put off marriage and family, they find more skills they should know, but don't.

"Some people think like this is ridiculous. You should just pull yourself up by your bootstraps because I was able to do this stuff when I was a kid, and generally we kind of say, yeah well, things were kind of different. We had home ec classes, we had a lot more time at home with family."

Classes like this are also filling the gap.

Junior Garrett Ross says students appreciate the peer-to-peer time.

"It's a lot different than having someone else come in and almost look down on the students who may not know how to change a tire. It's different if I am as a friend saying, yeah here's how you do it. I'll show you how to jump a car. I won't judge you at all."

Freshman Makayla Bernash says,"In my high school, we didn't have any of those classes. So I think it's good that they're offering these classes because like I never knew how to sew. And I don't always have to go ask my dad or my Pepe how to fix my car. I can go and do it on my own."

And take on the world more well-rounded - exactly what Platt was aiming for.

"When they leave Husson and they move on in their lives, they'll remember the skills and these classes that they attended. And now they'll have those tools kind of in their back pocket ready to go whenever needed."

As Bernash says, "My dad always said knowledge is power, so - it is."

As some mentioned, classes in high school that used to teach these life skills are unusual now - or don't even exist.

In Part 2 of Adulting 101, we'll head to a school in Hampden that's countering that, hoping to make future adulting easier for students.