Students are lining up for classes that teach life skills: “I need to learn how to get this adult thing down and manage life.”
BERKELEY, Calif. – Conner Wright is carrying a demanding course load in his final year as an English major at the University of California, Berkeley. He’s studying Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Harriet Jacobs — and how to do laundry without turning his underwear pink.
The 20-year-old senior realized that as he prepares for his launch into a post-college world, he likely is going to need more than an ability to interpret classic literary works. So he signed up for a class on “adulting,” where he is taught the basic coping skills of daily life.

“I need to learn how to get this adult thing down and manage life,” Wright said.

He’s one of thousands of “adults in training” across the country. Adulting classes for college students and postgrads have swelled in popularity in recent years, in part because many high schools have abandoned “life skills” courses such as home economics, which were created to help students navigate the path to adulthood.

Why didn’t their parents teach them these skills? Because, according to many of the students, their parents emphasized academic achievement to the exclusion of almost everything else.

As a result, universities are filled with students who aced their AP physics test but have no idea how to cook pasta without turning it into mush.

And it’s not just college students who are discovering that they need help. In Portland, Maine, the for-profit Adulting School offers classes on everything from how to repair a hole in a plasterboard wall to ways for drawing up a personal budget.

Principal Rachel Flehinger said the students are typically in their 20s and 30s.

Read more : Hannah Fry : Star Tribune : 07 January 2020