Cooking, mending clothes and managing money are all important skills for college students.
Home ec classes are more than reminders of a bygone era when women were expected to know how to make a flawless jello mold and darn socks. They teach young folks how to cook basic meals, how to keep their clothing in good shape and how to budget and run a household.
If you know how to do all of these things, good for you. If you don’t, no judgment. It’s hard to learn skills without a chance to practice them. YouTube can only teach you so much, and it’s shit at troubleshooting your problems when you burn dinner for the fourth day in a row because, up to now, you’ve only ever eaten ramen and your family’s cooking.
These skills are about more than keeping your spouse happy. They’re about people of all genders learning to take care of themselves once they’re living away from their families. It’s wasteful to throw out every nice shirt you own when a button falls off. It’s not practical to order food every night because you can’t cook for yourself. Ironing is a big part of making sure you’ll look nice at work, but it’s scary to try on your own. Home ec should be expanded to include other important allegedly adult tasks, too, like jumping a car or changing a car tire.
These skills flex a person’s ability to plan ahead (no meal goes off without a hitch without a mise en place) and to react calmly to frustrating situations (car troubles and frayed clothing become small inconveniences). Not knowing how to do some of the basic tasks covered in home ec can harm people personally and professionally when they don’t know how to react to or fix the situation.
Murphy’s Law is real: what can go wrong will go wrong at some point, and it’s only exacerbated when it goes wrong at the worst possible time. Thirty minutes before an interview is not the time to need to learn how to fix a seam. Life skills also make people more considerate roommates and partners. People can help others eliminate daily stressors when they can offer to help cook dinner or make the pie their roommate needs to bring to a work potluck.
The university could stand to test out a single home ec class to see if students will be as interested as I believe they would be. The curriculum practically writes itself. Local professionals could come in for a single class to teach about a different topic that people would find useful, like a CPA giving a presentation on taxes.
There are a million ways students could benefit from learning a little more about the day-to-day minutiae that awaits them upon graduating rather than focusing solely on academic tasks. It would make TU a more well-rounded university with a stronger curriculum, and students would get a small break from considering abstract ideas to practice some hands-on and applicable knowledge.