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8 things Aussies wish we were taught in school

A young man and woman look unhappy with a burnt pizza they're pulling out of the oven

The basic life skills we wish they taught us in school

A young man and woman look unhappy with a burnt pizza they're pulling out of the oven

A strange thing happens when you’ve graduated from high school, packed your bags, said goodbye to Mum and Dad and begun the ‘adulting’ stage of your life.

You realise that those hours spent slaving over algebra and learning the difference between a contraction and a pronoun don’t actually help when you’ve run out of clean jocks and you’re sick of eating two-minute noodles.

Welcome to the real world, where separating whites from colours and managing your superannuation becomes the norm.
We’ve put together nine ‘adulting’ things that we think should be taught in school.

1. Changing a tyre

Getting a flat tyre is an inevitable part of driving, so don’t let it get you deflated (see what we did there?). In our humble opinion, learning the art of changing a tyre should be an essential part of the high school curriculum.

Credit: RACQOfficial

2. Knowing what’s recyclable

When it comes to bin night, are you disposing of your garbage correctly?

The Victorian Government has put together a simple guide that details exactly what goes where.

Wondering which bin your Nickleback album goes in? Bad news, it shouldn’t be put in the recycling bin. Some city councils offer a special program to recycle CDs and DVDs, or you can head to Business Recycling to find a local recycling service that you can drop your old discs off to.

3. Private health insurance

How is Medicare and private health insurance not already included in the school syllabus? Whether you’re working or studying, your health should be a priority and the last thing you need is an unexpected ambulance or specialist bill arriving in the mail.

Private health insurance offers the peace-of-mind that if something were to happen with your health, you may be covered financially. At nib, we have a range of policies that can be tailored so you’re not paying for things you don’t need.

4. Shelf life of chicken

If you’ve ever had a bout of food poisoning, you’ve probably developed a newfound appreciation for the use-by-date on food packaging. One of the big culprits of tummy troubles is chicken, so before you cook up your schnitty, make sure it’s been stored correctly (the CSIRO has a few handy tips) and consume any refrigerated leftovers within 72 hours.

A young woman takes notes on her living room floor with her laptop and a coffee next to her

5. Superannuation

Including a breakdown of superannuation in the high school maths curriculum would’ve been ‘super’ helpful.
Basically, superannuation is a way to help fund your retirement. For most people, your employer is required to pay 9.5% on top of your salary into your selected superannuation account - and you can access this money once you reach a certain age (if you were born after 1964, you can access your super at 60).

In the meantime, your chosen superannuation fund will combine its members’ money and invest it on your behalf into things like property, shares and cash. For more information on superannuation, visit MoneySmart.

6. Which knife and fork do you use at a restaurant?

Still get confused by which knife and fork to use when you’re at a fancy restaurant? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Basic dining etiquette would’ve made a world of difference when you’re trying to impress a date (or a date’s parents) when dining out. The big tip here is to start from the outside and work your way in. The entrée knife and fork will generally sit furthest away from your dinner plate, while the dinner knife and fork will sit closest to the plate.

Your soup spoon will sit on the right-hand side and furthest away from the dinner plate and the dessert spoon will sit between the entrée knife and soup spoon.

For more tips and tricks, Homelife has an article dedicated to the art of table setting.

7. Asking for a pay rise

Unfortunately, learning the art of basic negotiation and persuasion wasn’t part of the high school program, and for most of us, the thought of asking for a pay rise is pretty daunting. If you think it’s time to raise your wage, start compiling examples of times when you’ve gone over and above your job description and make a list of any responsibilities you’ve been asked to manage. That way, you’ll be able to provide proof of your value to the organisation.

For more tips, check out this article by Career One.

8. Making a budget

Some of us just aren’t naturally blessed with the skill of saving, so ‘budgeting 101’ would’ve come in handy during our school years. If you have a habit of spending your salary on stuff you don’t need, it’s about time to up-skill. Creating a basic budget can help you prioritise your spending and get you the house/car/smashed avo’ you’ve been dreaming about. The Australian Government Department of Human Services has created a nifty tool to help you get your finances in check.

At nib, we believe private health insurance should be simple, so we offer you the ability to tailor a cover that will suit your needs. The best bit? You can get a quote online in just minutes.

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