DAVID GREENE, HOST:
You ever wish there was someone to offer advice on how to be an adult like, say, how to fold laundry? We bring you Adulting School. Here is Maine Public Radio's Patty Wight.
PATTY WIGHT, BYLINE: A couple dozen young adults are sipping drinks at a Portland restaurant, hoping to uncover their true financial style.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: So you got an idea of who you are? Yeah? Why don't you get up, and...
WIGHT: They mix into different groups based on their money habits. Twenty-nine-year-old Carly Bouchard sits with others who may share her pain.
CARLY BOUCHARD: I'm a financial cripple.
WIGHT: Even though she went to business school, Bouchard says she now needs the Adulting School.
BOUCHARD: I'm still a dolt, not an adult, a dolt when it comes to my finances.
WIGHT: The Adulting School offers private social media groups and live events like this one at local bars and restaurants. Attendees can learn grown-up skills from how to network like a pro to how to fold a fitted sheet. After watching a demonstration on proper folding, 25-year-old Adrienne Abramowitz grabs a sheet as her friend, 26-year-old Emily Rice, coaches.
ADRIENNE ABRAMOWITZ: So you have the two fingers.
EMILY RICE: Two fingers. Put them together.
ABRAMOWITZ: Do this. Then you pinch it.
WIGHT: But it's not going well.
RICE: Then you grab it by these two. Wait, shouldn't there be, like...
ABRAMOWITZ: This is where I was lost. Brian (ph).
WIGHT: The vibe of The Adulting School is fun, but the goal behind it is serious. Co-founder Rachel Weinstein got the idea from her work as a psychotherapist. She noticed that a lot of her clients struggled with the transition to adulthood.
RACHEL WEINSTEIN: You know, when you see 10 people feeling like they're the only one, and they're all struggling with the same thing, you think, let's get these people together so they can learn this stuff and not feel so isolated and ashamed.
WIGHT: Money management is a common source of stress for the school's attendees, who tend to be millennials and women. Thirty-two-year-old Lindsay Rowe Scala says she's trying to figure out how to save for the future and pay off school debt.
LINDSAY ROWE SCALA: In job interviews, you know, they're asking - always asking like, where do you see yourself in five years? And I never know how to answer that 'cause I'm always thinking on, like, how to, like, survive today and next week and what's coming up.
WIGHT: Holly Swyers says this handwringing about adulthood goes back generations. She's an associate professor of anthropology at Lake Forest College who's researched adulthood. Part of the problem, Swyers says, is that classes that teach life skills like home ec are no longer emphasized. And there's no other dedicated place to learn these things.
HOLLY SWYERS: When you graduate from high school or from college, and suddenly there's no more rules about, if you just do this step, that's what comes next.
WIGHT: Though this may be an age-old problem, some people criticize The Adulting School for coddling. But Swyers says the school deserves kudos for addressing a real problem. She'd like to see more proactive approaches that help all young adults successfully navigate from dependence to independence. For NPR News, I'm Patty Wight.
(SOUNDBITE OF 3ND'S "WALTZ FOR LILLY")
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