MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Rob Barrett is a music production professor at North Central University in Minneapolis, but this semester he’s also teaching a class aimed at preparing students for adulthood.
There’s no credit for taking this class, students don’t even get a grade, but in many ways, it’s the most important class they’ll ever take.
Adulting 101 is Barrett’s brainchild.
“Taxes, insurance, mortgages, Roth IRAs — all that kind of nuts and bolts financial stuff that for some reason they’re not getting that in high school anymore,” Barrett said.
But not just that. Seemingly obvious things, too, like sitting up straight, making eye contact in an interview and tricks to remembering someone’s name.
“They are things we are just expected to know, but I feel like we still don’t know them as well as we should,” said Tess Vollom, one of Barrett’s students.
During a recent class, theater teacher Wayne Matthews helped teach body language and how not to act.
His theory is, out of good intention, parents do too much for students before they leave for college.
“Unfortunately, that causes a student to not be equipped or prepared to do some of the things now that they are going to do on their own because they’ve been done for them,” Matthews said.
Barrett agrees but thinks the biggest barrier today is technology.
“If I tell them to talk amongst themselves, nothing happens and they pull out their phones,” Barrett said. “If I tell them to turn to the person next to you and ask them about this, then the room lights up.”
So one of the goals of the class is to put your phone down and engage. Barrett also offers tips on how to save money.
“At their age, if they give up one cup of cappuccino a day and put it in the S&P 500, at age 67, they are a millionaire,” Barrett said.
Barrett even offers online cooking videos.
“It’s really great to have a video in front of me where it shows me what to get at the store and every step to take to get a great meal,” Vollom said.
For Barrett, there’s a simple question for his students every class – how can I prepare you for the world today?
And until these students are fully prepared thanks to his tips, Barrett will continue to teach more than just music.
“If they can avoid some of the mistakes I made and get farther ahead — I want them to all be richer and more successful than I am,” Barrett said. “I am passionate about this stuff. I love learning this stuff.”
Another tip Rob tells his students is not to ask people about their jobs because research shows nearly 70 percent of people don’t like their jobs, leading to a potentially awkward conversation.