The Baker Orange

Colleges should offer life skills courses

Story by Kayla Infanti

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There is nothing like getting into a car accident to help put life in perspective.

In college, students generally learn how to write papers, pass tests and develop skills in a specific field of study. Unfortunately, the reality of our education is that it doesn’t necessarily teach us how to be fully prepared citizens. After graduating, there is typically a trial-and-error period when college graduates go through the process of learning important life skills, such as filing taxes, dealing with insurance companies and handling finances.

Now let’s be honest, how many college classes teach students how to file an insurance claim? What about courses that teach students how to properly pay our own taxes? In reality, we take classes that teach us our major but not many general life skills.

This issue didn’t necessarily come to my attention until I was in a car accident about two weeks ago. I’m not sure if it was whiplash or an epiphany, but the accident led me to start thinking about life after college.

After my car was totaled by getting crunched between two other cars, I honestly had no idea and still don’t fully understand how to proceed from that point. The entire process was exhausting.

Enter Mom and Dad.

Swiftly after the accident occurred and police were called to the scene, I was at a complete loss of what to do next. So I did what any other college student does when faced with an emergency: I panicked and called my mom.

After receiving very specific instructions from my parents, I wrote down license plate numbers and took pictures of the accident. That was about the entirety of my involvement in dealing with the details of my accident.

For the past two weeks I have received instructions from my parents about calling for a tow truck to come get my car, talking to the claims adjustor to find out whether my car would be totaled, giving my statement to both insurance companies, making appointments with doctors and filling out paper work for medical insurance claims. Every step had a form to fill out, every person needed a copy and I needed some pain reliever because all of it gave me a headache.

Evidently, I am not alone in my naivety. The United States Government Accountability Office reported that the majority of college-age students receive their medical insurance through another person’s policy, such as being a dependent on their parents’ plan. That same study found about 1.7 million college students are uninsured in the United States. This means that students who are dependents on their parents’ policies or who are uninsured, won’t have exposure dealing directly with insurance companies until they actually have an incident that requires some type of coverage.

My experience with the car accident and dealing with insurance companies is just an example of the naivety of some college students when it comes to these essential life skills. Before students graduate, they should have some courses that teach them these general life skills.

In my own case, I’m lucky. I have parents who were able to direct me through the entire incident and who will help me learn everything I need to know. Now two and half weeks later, I have a new car, a new perspective on what being an adult is, and a new appreciation for my parents. I’m not saying I’m ready to speed off into the world of being a self-sustaining adult, but I can definitely say I’m ready to fasten my seat belt and start the engine.