Millennials and Gen Zers Are Taking ‘Adulting’ Classes

Welcome to Adulthood 101

Adulting Classes
Adulting classes are bringing real-world skills to the lecture hall.
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By Kayla Kibbe / December 12, 2019 11:44 am

Historically, the process of becoming an adult has been one massive, fairly risky game of trial and error. There are certain cultural signifiers that society takes to mean you’ve become one — graduating from college, getting married, etc. — but for the most part, there’s no how-to manual when it comes to learning how to master the ins and outs of keeping yourself alive as a grown adult.

Traditionally, the understanding has been that people don’t need any formal training in the art of sustaining a functional adult life — one day you just grow up and it’s pretty much sink or swim from then on out. But according to the Los Angeles Times, a new wave of “adulting” courses are challenging the notion that adulthood can’t — or at least needn’t — be taught.

An adulting course at UC Berkeley teaches students to “create and stick to a personal budget, build a résumé and apply for jobs, and navigate romantic relationships in a time when online interactions are eclipsing face-to-face encounters.” The class is operated by undergrads as part of the university’s Democratic Education at Cal program, but it’s not the only program of its kind offering young people throughout the country a crash course in real life.

The Adulting School in Portland, Maine offers courses for 20- and 30-something adults-in-training on so-called “soft skills,” such as interviewing for jobs and navigating interpersonal conflicts and relationships.

“We’ve had clients who are millennials having major anxiety that they didn’t have these skills and didn’t feel successful as an adult,” said Rachel Flehinger, the school’s principal. “There’s a lot of self-loathing that happens.”

Of course, as all adults know, a vague but persistent sense of self-loathing is actually one of the most fundamental aspects of adulthood, so maybe these adulting students are actually further along than they’re giving themselves credit for.

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