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Students seek skills to navigate ‘the real world’

For The Miami Student

Published: Monday, February 18, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 00:02

From changing a flat tire and paying the bills, to cooking meals and doing laundry, there are a number of skills students are expected to have acquired upon entering the “real world,” though many Miami University students have yet to do so.

First-year Rachel Rodrigue said she thinks it’s important to know how to manage money.

“I know that I usually let my dad manage how much I spend and all of that, and I should be able to learn how to do that on my own by the time I graduate,” Rodrigue said.

Her two older sisters, age 22, have faced situations where they don’t know how to handle money appropriately, and had to have their parents do it for them.

“They will have to wire money or split a rent payment and they didn’t know how to deal with it,” Rodrigue said.

Sophomore Katherine Amato had a different idea of what she needs to know. The first thing she listed: being able to take care of a house.

“It’s important to be able to grocery shop, cook, clean, etc.,” Amato said. “I know how to buy snacks, but my mom will buy things like parsley—I don’t know what to do with that!”

First-year Michael Gehring said he believes he will be prepared for the real world when he reaches graduation.

“Miami will help me because I’m living on my own,” Gehring said. “I think college is the transitional step between living with your parents and being completely on your own. You are slowly being weaned off of your parent’s support.”

Many students rely on their parents for simple tasks, and feel the process will take some time.

First-year Sarah Forbes struggles with driving directions.

“My mom always writes out directions for me or tells them to me over the phone,” Forbes said. “Until college, I had never driven with a GPS.”

Direction difficulty doesn’t only apply to driving, according to first-year Rachael White.

“I know it’s a broad statement, but following directions comes up in a lot of situations in life,” White said.

White listed other necessary skills including putting together a cabinet, cooking meals and washing clothes. In general, critical thinking skills and patience are vital White said.

First-year Jake Zalac said he thinks there are still a lot of skills to be learned before graduation.

“I can barely make popcorn without burning it, so I don’t think I would be ready to live on my own just yet,” Zalac said.

In addition to cooking skills, Zalac listed removing stains as an area in need of improvement.

Cindy Lucas, a Miami graduate of 1983, said she believes Miami prepared her well for the real world.

“In trying to balance studies, organizations and sororities, there is so much to offer and you have to pick and choose,” Lucas said.

Lucas immediately cited organization as an important life skill for success.

“In their first apartment, their living skills, their daily life and getting your life in order,” Lucas said. “[And] being able to make lists and then cross things off is important.”

Lucas’ husband and Miami graduate from 1984, John Lucas, also mentioned organization among the things he learned at Miami.

Their daughter, Maddy Lucas, is a first-year at Miami.

“I would hope that she comes out with a great education that allows her to pursue her career, whatever that may be, landing a job and a profession that keeps her passionate,” John said.

One item John Lucas gives Miami credit for is friendship.

“You make some great friendships along the way, and use your relationships to help you grow and network,” he said. “When I travel for business I have friends from school that I can still call and reach out to.”

Cindy Lucas said she believes Miami students will have the skills to thrive in the real world

“There are so many more organizations, clubs, and athletic organized activity,” Cindy Lucas said. “I think they learn how to balance their time really well; I don’t think it will be a problem, and the computer now—which leads to so much more organization, that helps, too.”

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