I was an anti-social child growing up in Yukon, Oklahoma in the early 2000’s. At that point, I thought I knew only two things- I wanted to leave this state the first chance I got and that being an adult must be 1,000 times better than having to deal with other kids. As it turns out, I was wrong about one of those things.
My freshmen year of high school, I was beginning to come out of my shell. I took theater classes and gained more friends who thought I wasn’t an intolerable dweeb. During this time, Yukon High School had already implemented a program called Reality Check. It was marketed as a life simulator. This would mark the moment I would realize that adulthood blows.
From the Yukon Review:
More than 600 Yukon High School freshmen got a reality check on Tuesday.
They got an opportunity to find out about getting a job, paying for car insurance, buying groceries, paying rent and utilities. All the things that go into being an adult.
And it all happened while they were in school.
During Reality Check, dozens of volunteers man booths with tags above them that say things like “Rent,” “Groceries,” “haircuts,” and “transportation.”
They also find out if they are married, single, have children or pets.
The idea is for students to get a lesson about finances.
High school is already a confusing time. You’re a teenager with hormones rampaging through your body attempting to figure out who you are as a person. You either want to fight, fornicate, cry or smoke most of the time without any reason whatsoever. Meanwhile, adults are bombarding you with questions about your future when the only sure thing you know is your name.
As someone who went through this program, I can tell you that I would rather sit through a five-hour lecture over bowel obstructions than attend something like this again.
The students are told that they’ll be getting out of class without going into too many specifics. You’re then handed a budget, a job card, and then told to go to each booth to figure it out. Some do well. Most, like myself, are left sitting in the bleachers wondering if life is going to punch you as hard as this simulation had.
A woman I graduated with failed so poorly that, by the simulation, she would more than likely end up homeless with three children. Inspiring, I know.
Koontz said many of the students are surprised to find out how much it costs for a cell phone bill or to pay for their car insurance.
“They take things for granted. One of the biggest a-ha moments is the cost of child care and groceries,” she said.
There have been changes to the program throughout the years. For example, there are fewer professional jobs and more trades included.
She said not every student can be a professional athlete or musician, which is what most would choose to do if that were an option.
That’s right kids, you can be anything you want to be so long as it’s financially screwed budget.
Yes, I agree that educators must teach children about the real world; however, maybe the scared-straight approach isn’t the best method. Perhaps you could try teaching them practical things while they’re in classes versus taking them into a gym and scaring the shit out of them,