5 Courses That Will Help You Become a Better Adult
Know how to research and write a 50-page thesis, but don’t know how to change a tire, balance a checkbook, or cook a meal that isn’t ramen-based? A new “Adulting School” in Portland, Maine, is here to help you master the art of being a grownup.
Rachel Weinstein, a therapist, and Katie Brunelle, a former public school teacher, founded The Adulting School (TAS) in 2016. Their goal? To teach Millennials basic (yet important) life skills, like removing a red wine stain, folding a fitted sheet, paying bills on time, networking, and more. Instead of operating an official brick and mortar school, the two dispense their wisdom through live and online workshops, social media groups, meetings, and blogs. An official, members-only online community is also in the works; it’s slated to launch in April 2017.
TAS is not alone in its mission to educate young adults. Here are five other programs or organizations that try—or have tried—to help Millennials improve their skills:
1. STANFORD UNIVERSITY HAS A COOKING SCHOOL FOR YOUNG ADULTS.
To teach students how to prepare cheap yet nutritious meals, Stanford University collaborated with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to launch a cooking education program called The Teaching Kitchen @ Stanford. It offers cooking classes for students, faculty, and staff, along with a separate nine-week Cook Smart Program that promises to “teach even the most inexperienced student cooks how to make a meal from scratch.”
Eric Montell, the executive director of Stanford’s dining program, explained the program’s importance to NPR in 2015. "I've had a student say to me, 'I don't even know how to fry an egg,'” Montell said. "You know, they have such a rich academic program here at Stanford. But students sometimes forget the practical part of, 'Wait a minute. I'm going to graduate and I'm going to have to cook for myself.'”
2. AN INVESTMENT FIRM OFFERS ADULTING 101 CLASSES FOR MONEY-MAKING MILLENNIALS.
Stash Wealth is a New York-based personal investment firm that caters to financially successful Millennials, whom they refer to as HENRYs (High Earners, Not Rich Yet). The firm hosts speaking engagements and events to teach these young, affluent workers about stock ownership plans, 401(k)s, student loan repayments, and more. (Example: Last September, Stash Wealth hosted a money workshop in Manhattan, titled “Adulting 101: The Last Class You Should Have Taken In School.”)
Employers can book Stash Wealth’s services for lunch sessions, panel discussions, personal office hours with employees, or even happy hours. “Remember that time your benefits provider came in to talk about retirement planning? A real snooze-fest, we know!” the firm's website explains. “Stash Wealth cuts through the jargon and boils it down to what you need to know so you can make smart decisions with your money. We love teaching Millennials how to 'get their [financial] sh*t together.'"
3. AN INSURANCE COMPANY LAUNCHED A FINANCIAL SOCIAL CLUB.
According to the Bangor Daily News, Weinstein and Brunelle’s Adulting School was inspired by a similar program in the Boston area, created by MassMutual. When it launched in 2014, the Society of Grownups consisted of a storefront in Brookline, Massachusetts, complete with a coffee bar, a communal room, and separate meeting rooms. Millennials could stop by and enjoy a beverage, purchase financial literacy classes, schedule one-on-one meetings with financial planners, and partake in “supper clubs,” a.k.a. group dinners helmed by financial experts.
Today, the Society of Grownups has gone completely digital. Its website offers a variety of free online finance classes, blogs, and digital tools, focusing on similar topics that the Brookline storefront once tackled with customers.
4. THE PLAZA HOTEL NOW OFFERS ETIQUETTE COURSES FOR YOUNG PROFESSIONALS.
In an age of swipe-based dating apps, texting, and weekends spent with Netflix and Seamless, some people believe our social skills have fallen by the wayside. To teach New York City residents proper manners, the Plaza Hotel recently teamed up with Beaumont Etiquette to launch The Plaza Hotel Finishing Program.
The program offers a variety of etiquette courses, but the Plaza created Plaza Proper Etiquette, a series of two-hour evening events that teach attendees how to behave like graceful, well-mannered adults, specifically with young professionals in mind. Topics include “First Impressions,” “Perfect Posture and Deportment,” “Refined Communication” (email, phone, and social media etiquette is included), and more.
“Etiquette is cool again,” Beaumont Etiquette founder Myka Meier told Condé Nast Traveler. “I’m reinventing it. It’s modern, practical—and not your grandmother’s etiquette class anymore. The rules of etiquette and why it’s important never change. Our society is evolving with things like social media and same-sex couples and online dating, so etiquette has to evolve, too.”
5. BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, HAS A ONE-STOP-SHOP FOR LIFE SKILLS.
Whether you want to master a handy life skill or try a new hobby, the Brooklyn Brainery is here to help. Located in Brooklyn, New York, the casual, inexpensive adult education school hosts a rotating assortment of classes designed to help you live a more well-rounded life. Some courses offer practical advice, like how to buy your first home in New York City, invest your cash like a pro, or properly use a set of kitchen knives, while others are more eclectic (think soap making, tarot card reading, or history courses).
"No matter what the class and who is teaching, our classes are laid back, fun, and participatory," the Brainery's website explains. "No one will ever scowl at you for showing up late, and your involvement in class—whether through discussion or something hands on—is what makes them all the more awesome."