This semester I am taking a course entitled “Professional Life Skills,” also known as BUS 111. In this course, we are learning about how to make financial decisions, investing, taxes and all topics related to personal finance and money. The course is one that is applicable to life post-grad and something that many college students know little about.
While the course has just started, we spent our first day discussing common beliefs about taxes, cars, owning property, credit cards, investing and more. The amount of ambiguity and disagreement between the students in the class was striking — while we all tended to agree on some beliefs, there were many others that divided the class. This shows a greater problem: students, even Wake Forest students, are not learning the skills they need when it comes to making financial decisions on their own. A lot of what we “know” is hearsay and is not always accurate.
Some of the topics we will cover are budgeting, work life, credit, investing, retirement and insurance. These are all topics that are beneficial to know and understand. However, this course is often a challenge to get into. There is one section offered each semester, capped to about 25 students. Moreover, it is offered in the School of Business, so it may be daunting for non-business majors to take this as it is in unfamiliar territory.
However, I think that this class needs to be one that more students take — there are many practical skills and lessons in the course that we all need. Whether the university adds more sections of it, makes different iterations of the course or finds another way to dispense the information, it is essential that we leave Wake Forest ready to live in the real world and make smart decisions.
Our education should not just be about what we need for our majors and minors, but on how to succeed and live in the real world. We need to learn practical skills — understanding Excel and knowing how to code are good things to have when it comes to working, but what about what we, as Wake Forest students, do outside of work?