Campus Life
Twenty things they really should teach in school
by Gabby Dumonceaux | March 3, 2020

Life is nothing like The Office said it would be.

School is undeniably important.

It equips you with the knowledge you need to land that gig and realize your dreams. Still, there are tons of invaluable skills for adult life that most curriculums seem to overlook.

Gif of Spongebob Squarepants simultaneously vacuuming, ironing, cooking, spraying cleaning solution, wiping a window and dusting a tapestry.

For example, I didn’t know about price matching until nearly a year after I started grocery shopping for myself. I could’ve saved enough money to buy the new Yeezys if I had been taught about that earlier! Or, maybe not—school never taught me budgeting either, so I may never know.

Future teachers, take note: here are twenty things they should teach in school.

1. How to make new friends

In high school, making friends was easy—you just hung out with whoever you had the most classes with. Now you’re on campus with thousands of students and it feels impossible to find your people.

Pro tip: while your professors might not be able to point you in the direction of people who are the same brand of weird as you, joining an IGNITE club can help you find your group!

Gif of Will Ferrell in the movie "Step Brothers" saying, "Did we just become best friends?"

2. How to budget

You know spending $35 on coffee and bagels every week adds up over time, but how are you supposed to make it through class without your daily caffeine fix?

It would be great to learn where to save and where it’s okay to splurge before your Tim’s habit breaks the bank.

3. How to care for your mental health

Health class taught you plenty about the importance of exercise and getting enough sleep. But according to the 2016 Canadian National College Health Assessment, over a quarter of post-secondary students have required professional treatment for a mental health condition.

Learning how to cope when things get overwhelming is a must.

Gif of drag queen Katya Zamolodchikova in a forest saying, "Imma take time for me."

4. Election essentials

You know you should vote, but how? What if you don’t have time? Where can you learn about the candidates in a way that doesn’t sound like a bunch of old men throwing around words they learned on Thesaurus.com just to sound smart? It’s all so confusing!

Luckily, IGNITE’s got you covered with some info on why your vote matters.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to come out and vote for your next IGNITE Board of Directors on campus at select locations, or online.

5. How to manage time effectively

Class, work, gym, sleep, friends, meal prep, chores, homework, studying. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day! At least, that’s how it feels.

Got any lecture notes on how to meet deadlines and stay sane, professor?

Gif of a hand writing, "Conquer this year," in a colour-coded bullet journal.

6. The 80/20 rule

Put aside 20 per cent of every paycheck into savings. Then, use the other 80 per cent to pay bills, tuition and other necessities. Whatever’s left is yours to spend.

Take that, student loan debt!

7. Basic cooking skills

Perhaps the only thing worse than taking college finals is taking college finals without your mom’s cooking to sustain you. Cooking on your own helps save money, too, but you only know how to make cereal and instant ramen—and that will only get you so far.

Check out our list of five easy soup recipes to begin your home cooking journey.

Gif of Stan Smith from the TV show, "American dad," saying, "Boil water? What am I, a chemist?"

8. Food fundamentals

Making your own meals is one thing, but you’d also like to know what you should put in those meals. Nutrition was confusing enough before Instagram made everyone decide they’re a fitness authority.

What’s a macro, anyway?

9. Dealing with debt

You’re in college. Do we even have to explain why this is important?

Gif of Offset from the rap group Migos dancing while holding two large stacks of bills.

10. Work-life balance 

There’s a prominent glamourization of burnout on college campuses, and, to be honest, it’s toxic. It’s not cool to work 15 hours a day until you can literally no longer stay awake in class. But still, where do you draw the line so you can be both happy and a hustler?

Reading our list of the best ways to beat stress is a good place to start.

11. Frugal fun

Even when you do carve time out of your week to have fun, you can’t seem to socialize without spending all your savings.

You’ve already visited all the best Toronto thrift stores, so how else can you enjoy yourself responsibly?

Gif of Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute from the TV show, "The Office," dancing with their hands in the air.

12. Dating dos and don’ts

It’s more than okay to be single. But if you do want to date, how do you escape the endless Tinder cycle?

13. Coping with failure

You won’t get every job you apply for—it’s just a fact. Although, it can really hurt your confidence when you apply for something that feels perfect and you don’t get it.

Everyone talks about getting back out there after a crush rejects you; nobody talks about getting back out there after a job rejects you. Nobody except IGNITE, that is. *Wink*.

Gif of a hand stamping a piece of paper with the word, "Rejected" in bold red ink.

14. Handling homesickness

You get home after a long day of classes, and you’re alone. Your pet isn’t running to the door to greet you, your siblings aren’t banging down your door just to get your attention and your dorm room feels eerily silent.

For when phone calls just won’t cut it, check out IGNITE’s guide to coping with homesickness.

15. It’s okay to not know everything

Professors don’t tend to be too understanding when you answer, “All of the above,” for every question on your midterm. But, in the real world, nobody expects you to be an all-knowing savant.

What’s most important is how willing and eager you are to learn.

Gif of Laurence Fishburne in the TV show, "Black-ish," saying, "I have absolutely no idea."

16. Healing from heartbreak

Heartbreak is a virtually inevitable part of life. And, it can be hard to focus on your day-to-day responsibilities when you’re weighed down with grief.

No matter what’s wearing on you, the Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre (SWAC) is here to help both Humber College and Univeristy of Guelph-Humber students.

17. Work smarter, not harder

Being busy is less important than being productive. Sure, you can cram your schedule full with hours and hours of studying—but if you aren’t actually retaining any of the information, it isn’t worth it.

Make your next homework session your best yet by trying out one of IGNITE’s best study hacks.

Gif of Kermit the Frog feverishly typing on a typewriter.

18. How mortgages work

I mean, you want to move out of res someday, right?

19. Ask for help if you need it

College is hard; plain and simple. Whether it’s with a project, a test or a personal issue, you don’t need to handle everything alone.

All of IGNITE’s services are designed to make your student life easier. There’s no shame in needing an extra hand!

Gif from a skit on, "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," featuring a group of five individuals putting their hands together and then lifting their hands up while shouting, "Teamwork!"

20. How to do your taxes

Until last week you thought, “T4,” was just the name of the TV program that made Jameela Jamil famous. That said, you want to get your hands on that sweet, sweet tax return before summer starts.

That’s where IGNITE’s Tax Clinic comes in!

We bring in trained student volunteers to help you sort through all that pesky paperwork and maximize your money. Simply select your campus, make an appointment and let us handle the rest. Oh, and did we mention it’s FREE?

They might not explain interest in school, but if you’re interested in taking care of your taxes without the hefty accountant’s bill, IGNITE is here to help.

Gif of a man in a plaid shirt folding and bending a bill and then magically making it rain money.


Make the most of this year’s tax return by checking out five things you didn’t know you could claim.

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