Simulation gives 9th graders sobering dose of future reality in ‘Your Money, Your life

Published 2:06 am Thursday, April 11, 2019

Ninth graders at Andalusia High School are getting the opportunity to find out what the real world is like, thanks to the Covington County 4-H program, “Your Money, Your Life.”

AHS career prep teacher Lauren Maynor said that she was approached by Katie Lee from the 4-H program to get her students to participate in the real life simulation.

“I did something like this when I was in eighth grade, but it was on a bigger scale,” Maynor said. “And I loved it. So, Katie approached me at the beginning of the year and told me that this is something that they were trying to do. They are traveling to different schools in the area and I thought that our students would definitely benefit from this.”

Maynor said that the program is basically like the board game “Life.”

“We give them a piece of paper and outlined on it is several things that they have to follow,” Maynor said. “They are given a job, what education was required for the job, how much they are making, if they are married and if their spouse has an income and if they had any children.”

A lot of the students had their eyes opened to the real world, Maynor said.

“A lot of people were not able to afford the lives that they were given,” Maynor said. “They had to get a second job or down grade their cars and housing. A lot of people joked around saying that they wanted to give their children up for adoption because they were so expensive. They had to factor in different things like buying insurance for their car and putting gas in it. There are just a lot of extra things that a lot of these kids don’t think about when it comes to the real world.”

Before the actual “game of Life,” Lee went through each of the 16 career clusters to make sure each student understood the different types of careers in the real world.

“Before picking a career path in one of these 16 clusters, you have to think realistically and have realistic expectations,” Lee said. “You have to think about if you want to stay in school and go to college, how much money you want to make and if you are really going to be happy in the career you choose. It’s not about the money, because there are some jobs where you wake up and you are dreading going to work, or you can wake up like I did today and not even think you are at work because you are having fun.”

Lee said that this program gives the students a hands-on opportunity to see what the real world is like.

“This is not really anything new that they are not already learning in their career prep class,” Lee said. “But this gives them a chance to look at the different things they will be challenged with in the long run and how they can prepare for it.”