10 things they should have taught us in school


Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem

Assalam alaikum wr wb, dear sister. Or brother.

A frequent phrase that seems to come up in conversations with my hubby is, “I wish they had taught me that in school!”

Man, did they miss out on some pretty essential life skills when they were planning our curricula.

As I see it, the top 10 things they did NOT teach me in school that I sorely wish they did:

  1. How to manage time
  2. How not to talk to the opposite sex (while I’m quite shy, once I start talking, I don’t stop. Shutting up then becomes an important skill.)
  3. How to dress fashionably on a budget
  4. How to find a job in a recession.
  5. How to relax.
  6. How to turn a dream into an ambition and then into a reality.
  7. How to become comfortable living in the cracks between my identity, my culture and my faith.
  8. How to choose the love of my life.
  9. How to find my purpose.
  10. How to find out who God really is.

It’s clear to me that school taught us a lot of ‘whats’, but not the ‘hows’ that come after them. A lot of the time, the ‘whats’ were quite meaningless to me. How the reproductive system works was fascinating, though far too technically dense to be useful (sex education FTW). All those debates/arguments in Islam class opened my eyes to how good –and bad- religious debate can get. But what can we as girls and women do? I don’t mean just prayer and hope, though those things are necessary and beautiful. I mean real, concrete, real-world actions. The answer has never really been properly defined, at least for me.

What about all those interminable physics, chemistry and math classes? Sine and cosine waves? Momentum? No use at all, I’m afraid.

I realize that in a lot of professions, this basic knowledge is vital – architects, engineers, Large Hadron Collider scientists. I realize that in high school, and often even in university, a lot of people don’t know what they want to be, so an overview of everything is useful.

I do wish important life skills were given just as much importance as science and math and not relegated to optional seminars. Inspiration is useful, but how do I go about chasing my dreams without going crazy, losing my family and friends, losing my values? That’s a subject no one has ever been brave enough to teach.

Wassalam and Fee Amanillah,

The Happy (and still learning) Muslimah.

3 thoughts on “10 things they should have taught us in school

  1. I could not agree more with number 1 and number 6. Honestly, I am at a stage of my life when I sometimes feel that my education has betrayed me. I seriously wonder the purpose of job: is job all about having a good salary so that we can live a good life and buy gadgets and stuff? Or is the purpose of a job is to attain a personal satisfaction and comfort from the fact we are doing something that is making us happy at the end of the day. I think the school system only emphasizes on the first way of thinking and that is why 99% of the people at the university level do not know what do they want to do in their life. But when they land in the real life, the false dream of happiness fall apart and they come to learn about their true dreams and talent. But at that point of life, majority lack the courage to defy the societal, familial, and mental restrictions and their dreams remain unrealized.

    1. Absolutely brother. We are so wasting our potential as human beings and as an Ummah because we are not recognizing difference within ourselves. Everyone can’t be doctors and lawyers and rolling in money – some people are more naturally suited to being teachers, nurses, chefs, designers, writers, bus drivers – Allah (SWT) has made human beings so beautiful and varied. Subhanallah only now am I really thinking about how I can really add value to the world insha Allah but I know there are so many people that don’t have that luxury or are too frightened to take it.

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