You can tell a lot about the times we’re in by what college kids choose to study.
In the 1960s, humanities were big. In the 1980s, it was all about high finance. Today at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, kids are looking for something a little more basic. It’s called ECON 223 but you might call it Real Life 101.
Students dissect a real pay stub and learn about everything from gross and net earnings to COBRA, COLAs and co-pays.
“It’s dry, but this is what you need to know before you go out into the real world,” says senior Fatima Burney. She says she’s watched her older sister make costly mistakes that she doesn’t want to repeat — like ending up having to fly out of the country to get dental work because she let her insurance lapse. “There was a huge amount I didn’t know, and you can get in a lot of trouble for it,” Burney says.
It may be stuff that people used to just learn, but as senior Caroline Phillips puts it, that clearly hasn’t worked out too well for the generation of grownups now losing their houses. “Adults also seem to be kinda flummoxed by everything that’s going on, and well, maybe it didn’t work, and maybe younger people need to take courses like these and hopefully we can be a more responsible generation,” Phillips says.
“I actually have relatives and friends who have already graduated, they’re already doing jobs, and when I told them I was doing this class, they asked me if I could forward my notes to them,” says Burney.
Continue story at NPR.org.Share