We’re going to start this one real slow for everyone whose head is already throbbing just from reading the headline: Millennials, currently the most reviled generation for reasons that have yet to become truly apparent (but are becoming more and more clear), just got a new school in Portland, Maine. Unlike other schools — which teach important basic skills like how to spell or do basic arithmetic — this place of learning is just a little bit different. And by “a little” we mean “embarrassingly different.”
Why? Because the hallowed halls of The Adulting School don’t hold the secrets to grammar or photosynthesis, they just focus on stuff like “making dental appointments” and “fixing things yourself.” #Hahahah #lolololololol
The idea that millennials need to learn stuff that they didn’t get in school — like how to create a budget — isn’t inherently terrible. But the school’s premise, which centers around paying money instead of “calling older people who like you,” doesn’t really hold much water. Nor does it do anything to dispel the widespread notion that millennials are worthless and whiny and altogether too coddled to be of any use to our society. And while the school’s aim is to help people starting out their adult lives learn the basic skills of survival, it’s hard not to think that throwing cash at presumed “experts” is just a little excessive when answers to everything from how to find a wall stud to what to do if you’re in need of medical help are only a few free clicks away on Google (even if a monthly membership to Adulting School is only 30 bucks a month — $15 if you join now). (Pro-tip: If you’re having trouble feeding yourself in a healthy way, maybe look up “nutritionally sound recipes” and use the money on that instead.)
As Tess Koman points out over at Cosmopolitan, the school’s explanation for existence — you’re smart and capable, but your education didn’t provide you with the skills you needed to be a grown-up — is blatantly disingenuous. Not because most of us immediately knew how to do all the things the school plans to teach millennials for a nominal fee, but because you really can’t blame an “education gap” for not knowing how to be a functioning grown-up. Especially in a time when there’s more information than ever. And especially when we live in 2016 — an era when balancing a checkbook is a thing of the past and your taxes (ugh, taxes) are easily done by a service.
Therein lies the issue. The “sh%#t you’re supposed to know” can be subcategorized into (1) basic skills needed for human survival and (2) what’s required to be a functioning member of society, or “adulting,” if we must call it that. Things like eating, cleaning your apartment enough that it’s not an unlivable garbage pit, and going to see doctors to ensure you stay alive and well fall under the first category, meaning they cannot be considered part of being an adult, regardless of whether your parents used to help you with these things and now you have to do them on your own. Those things just make you alive.
Two things: First, we must get rid of the term “adulting” as though being an adult is actually a mysterious thing. No one knows how to be an adult! We’re all just trying to figure it out and not mess up when it comes to signing contracts and deciding whether we need vision insurance! Second, we’ve got to stop blaming the generation we were born into for not knowing basic skills. If you’re a millennial who doesn’t get something but also doesn’t do anything to change that situation (outside of going to a special school for cool kids who are adorable because “OMG, how do you pay a phone bill?” probably just like Zooey Deschanel) it’s not down to being part of le wrong generation — it’s because you’re so enamored with the idea of being a clueless millennial that you never stopped to think “huh, I bet there’s a blog about this somewhere, because if I’m having this problem 10 million other people have it, too.”
You do not need a school for this! You just need some common sense! You have a smartphone! You are not too special to learn how to do this on your own! Being a clueless mess isn’t particularly cute after you’re 25. (It’s actually not that cute after 23, but you know what? We’ll give you a pass.)
Of course, there are some good things the school offers — like improv classes and a warm and supportive online community of people who might be just like you — but the idea that you need to pay someone to mentor you in the esoteric art of hammering a nail (online! Online!) is just so painful that we’re all just hoping this is another clever prank from the same people who brought you Dumb Starbucks.
Listen, we’re not trying to be uncharitable, here. If you really do lack the necessary basic skills of how to “adult” we’re happy to help you with some ideas:
- Google literally everything you have a question about.
- Call your parents if you need help with something (only if you’re on good terms with them, though). There’s absolutely no shame in asking them for advice and it will just bring you closer together even if it will aggravate you literally to death.
- If you don’t have a parent that you can call (and your relatives are all either distant or terrible), consider as Cosmo suggests, speaking to a trusted adult or someone who seems to be more together than you. People love giving advice, and most of your friends will do it for free. So if you don’t know how to change your oil or call up your dentist, they’ll be happy to help! And what’s going to happen if they tell your friends that you don’t know how to do some stupid basic thing? Nothing. Because no one just gets The Big Book Of Being An Adult on their 18th birthday, it’s all stuff we either had to ask our parents help for or learn on our own.
- Making and keeping appointments is easy. If you are so afraid of the phone that you daren’t call a physician’s office due to your social awkwardness — “oh my god, I am just so bad on the phone” — then you’ll be happy to know that many doctor’s offices will now schedule you via email or online! There are also many sites, apps, and support groups that will help you with your social skills if you need it. Best of all, they probably won’t charge you $15-$30 bucks a month.
- Budgeting is difficult but it’s a little bit easier when you don’t waste your money on things that are useless or you’ll end up regretting in the long run. That’s why you should put the cash you’d spend on this school into a savings account (the bank will be happy to help you open one without any judgment) and hold on to it for a rainy day. Then, if you’re still having problems, do another Google search, instead of throwing your hard-earned ducats at this adorable little gimmick.