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Do you know what I totally use every single day?

Variable equations.

While I try to change my car tire with the help of YouTube I think of the way that the alphabet weaselled its way into my number timetables – cheeky little guys.

Sometimes I spend hours thinking about irrational numbers and how crazy it is that they can’t be written as simple fractions (wild!). I take comfort in the fact that I know what they are, despite not knowing where the generator is under the bonnet of my car (which NRMA tells me “only needs some water”).

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When I’m sitting in the accountant’s office, conversing with the man I’ve paid to do my taxes year after year after year, I’m thinking about inductive and deductive reasoning in geometry. I’m so thankful that my brain has kept such valuable money saving information on the top shelf. Good work, brain, keep it up!

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I know that Hitler’s rise to power began in 1919, which is infinitely more useful than knowing how to sell myself on my resume. I’ll walk into an interview (they shake hands on TV so maybe I’ll do that?) and I’ll feel confident knowing that I can talk about Germany for hours because even though it’s irrelevant to the job, it’s still interesting, right?

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I didn’t choose cooking at school because I was told it would ‘negatively affect my ATAR’. I don’t really know how to eat healthy or cook a meal, and now I’m out of home I’m staring at a pile of raw pasta and a jar of cream and some raw meat and I’m wondering how it all happens. But hey! At least I know when I mix vinegar and bicarbonate of soda I can get a fizz.

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When I walk into a voting booth, and the ceaseless shouting from labour and liberal and greens party members echo the grounds, I’m glad that while I don’t know the difference between the parties, at least I know who opposed each other in the Indo-China war. That’ll be useful, right?

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Sometimes I fail an essay because I misunderstand the question. Sometimes I fail people and job applications. High school taught me that failing was the worst thing that could happen, and that nothing good could come from it. They didn’t tell me that everyone fails at things, and they didn’t show me how to turn that failure into a new beginning.

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I’m really good at jumping through hoops, but I suck at self-sufficiency. If only high school taught some actual real-world skills, then maybe I wouldn’t be the sad excuse for an adult I am today. You know, stuff like manners and changing tyres, or cooking something beyond microwave meals. Self defence, first aid, conflict resolution… why not?

Only 61% of Year 12 students go on to further education straight after school, so why is there such an emphasis on university preparation? What’s left for the rest of us, who have to try and navigate loan applications armed with the knowledge of the quadratic formula and little else? It’s time for a shake-up of the system, so when future generations graduate from high school, they wont feel quite as underprepared as I did – still do. The struggle is so real, people.

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