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Adventures in Adulting

students choose careers What is “adulting”? How do you do it? Is it even a real word? Beyond the dictionary definition of behaving like an adult, it can mean a wide range of responsibilities from budgeting and paying bills, to laundry and car maintenance. 

While these may not be your favorite things to do, we seek to prepare Kent School District students for life after high school with these important skills. Thanks to a partnership between our Career and Technical Education program and local community partners, Kent-Meridian High School students recently explored the realities of adulting during an immersive event in their library. 

“Students aren’t always getting the skills they need to thrive after high school from their school or parents,” Kent Chamber of Commerce’s Education Committee Chair John Schneider said during the event he helped organize. “Activities and conversations like this help them gain real-life experience and will, hopefully, help them avoid some real-life mistakes.” 

Students randomly chose a card listing a career with varying salaries, debts, and expenses attached. 

Some were thrilled with their cards while others were surprised by high debts and low salaries. 

“This doesn’t leave me with much money to have fun,” a student commented while planning their budget. “I’m gonna need to make more than this in real life.” 

After budgeting on paper, students stopped by stations where volunteers from local businesses helped them decide on purchases like cars and furniture, and monthly expenses like rent and cell phones. 

students Students quickly realized they might need to revisit their budgets and reprioritize how to spend their paychecks. 

“I wanted a bigger TV, but I couldn’t pay for it and get a couch,” one student commented. In the end, they decided to opt for the TV over furniture. 

“They can listen to me say it all day long, but events like this tie it to the real world and help them see this stuff really matters,” Kent-Meridian Business and Accounting Teacher Patrick Campbell said. 

The event was organized in partnership with KSD Career and Technical Education, the Kent Chamber of Commerce, and Denali Credit Union, a division of New Vision.  

“I’m very passionate about partnering with KSD and other local organizations to get this information in front of students,” Kent Chamber’s CEO Zenovia Harris explained. “It’s important they connect it to their lives and the impacts it will have on their futures.” 

 “Activities like these emphasize real-life skills such as financial planning,” Director of CTE Lori Paxton said. “We strive to provide plenty of opportunities for our students to engage with community volunteers and gain college and career readiness skills.”  

After the event, Campbell said his students write about what they learned and what surprised them.  
“The number one thing that they always say is they didn’t realize how expensive everything is,” Campell said with a laugh. “They talk about it for weeks after and really get a lot from it.”

Adventures in Adulting Series 

Lester Last spring, Kent-Meridian Career Specialist Dee Klem asked students what topics related to life after high school and “adulting” they would like to learn more about. From their responses, Klem partnered with the Kent Chamber to bring a series of after school sessions hosted at Kent-Meridian this semester.  

Students will explore different components of adult responsibilities, including online banking, taxes, budgeting, resumes, the job search process, housing, utilities, credit scores, and car maintenance.   

Kent-Meridian student Lester Quitoriano’s logo design was selected for the series and he received a $100 gift card from the Kent Chamber. 

Kent-Meridian students will receive more information about the upcoming session on March 4 via email.