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What do you know?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Brother J, Mar 4, 2010.

  1. Brother J

    Brother J
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    I know there are a lot of students and graduates on this board, so a lot of you may be able to relate.

    I've just started a new volunteer placement before I graduate, and had a conversation with my new employer. We were talking about school and how I would be graduating with an Commerce degree in a few weeks, and he asked me “so what can you do?”
    I was baffled, and couldn’t really answer. I thought about it later on that day, and it seems that I will be simply getting a $50,000 piece of paper at the end of it.

    In the 6 years of school, I don’t know how much I’ve retained, or how much of what I have I can actually apply. I’ve taken numerous Economics, Accounting and Stats/Data Research classes, and all I can explain is the basic law of supply and demand, know my way around and income statement and balance sheet, and do my taxes. I couldn’t even tell you basic probabilities, or even some basics from the classes that I'm majoring in. I would know what textbook to look those up in, but haven't retained much.
    I do however know or remember:

    - A few interesting facts about consumer behavior
    - How to play squash fairly well from a PE class
    - Random astronomy facts because the class was really interesting
    - A few things on the relationships between organizational structure, emotion, teams, and leadership (again because the class was interesting)
    - Project management theory and some applicable skills (only because we had to do a project with a local business)
    - How to give a presentation and write a resume/cover letter

    However, I’ve done a lot of restaurant work over the past 6 years or so to put myself through school. I could easily go into a golf course or restaurant and develop staff training manuals, set up POS systems, organize an entire golf tournament from scratch with all the different vendors and parties involved, and make a pretty good cocktail.
    All of those are skills I could can take forward with me, they are almost more tangible or useful it would seem.

    I realize a degree at least shows you've dedicated yourself to accomplishing something, and you do pick up some writing skills and maybe critical thinking, but it still feels very underwhelming.

    This shouldn't be a thread about what degree or major is better/worse/useless (and yes, I realize most business/commerce students are missing a chromosome) but rather

    Focus: What have you actually learned from from a post secondary education (more theory based programs, opposed to the technical schools)
     
  2. Maltob14

    Maltob14
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    The three things I can remember learning as I sit here drooling my self to sleep in class which were completely new to me all came from a course on ancient Greece last semester. Keep in mind my teacher would get wet any time she mentioned Sparta.

    1) The Spartans were not in fact alone at Thermopylae, they had some reinforcements.

    2) Greeks liked to exercise in the nude and had a piece of string specifically made to strap their wiener to their leg so it wouldn't flop around and get in the way.

    3) The Greeks invented anal lube.

    Otherwise, university has reinforced the fact that common sense goes a long way and how rare of a gift it can be.
     
  3. toddus

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    The Greeks invented saliva?
     
  4. bewildered

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    I haven't graduated yet, but so far I've learned how to:
    -do wound care
    -perform trach suctioning and care
    -give bedbaths, roll fat patients, change a bed with a fat person in it, etc
    -take vital signs

    And a skill I've picked up because of the knowledge I've gained, but not directly taught in my classes:
    -How to diagnose House's patients properly way before he does.

    Later on we'll be able to give suppositories and enemas ("always lube EVERYthing up. What if that was your mom in that bed?!"). Yay nursing school!
     
  5. silway

    silway
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    Law school taught me how to parse an issue, in law or life, down to the core elements and analyze them from multiple angles individually and then to reassemble them to understand a greater context.

    In practice, that means that I don't like having debates with a lot of people because it's very easy for me to accept a hypothetical premise in order zero in on a point of contention and it's very hard for a lot of people I know to do so.

    My undergrad taught me that poor men commit violent crimes.
     
  6. effinshenanigans

    effinshenanigans
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    I was an English major and I've honestly used close to nothing that I learned in college since I received my diploma. My writing abilities have improved and I'm a better researcher, but that's all, really. Which then begs the question, did I actually learn anything at all?

    Outside of anything curriculum based, I learned that work ethic means everything and, as Maltob said, common sense is fucking king.
     
  7. Sicnevol

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    I'm an English Major too. I've just noticed that I read things much closer.
    I can do research, and write on a decent level when I feel like it.
    I think I might focus on creative writing so that I actually learn to write something not research related.
     
  8. Aetius

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    I'm an EE, and so far I've learned how to calculate exactly how many mA I put through a resistor to make it catch on fire, and which voltage reading I should have been looking at to make sure I wasn't creating a small scale version of the electric fence from Jurassic Park.
     
  9. Beefy Phil

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    Same here. I learned that you'd better be independently wealthy, or exceedingly goddamn talented, or you're proper fucked.
     
  10. Spoz

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    I often lament the fact that I haven't retained much knowledge from my degree. It was in fact a post on the old board that caused me to start thinking about it; he said "my biggest regret is being a passenger to my education". This statement is now true for me as well.

    On focus though, a bachelor of Civil engineering has taught me how to think like a civil engineer and how to approach complex problems. It also taught me that mastering a field like engineering takes an entire career of hard work, and that my 4 years of undergrad only puts me a few steps into the learning curve.
     
  11. MainEvent007

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    I'm a psych major. Because my focus is more on the cognitive and neuroscience aspects of science, I've actually learned a decent amount of stuff about how the brain works. However, does this directly influence my ability to do something? Debatable.

    However, the psych major weed-out class at my school is known around my university as being an absolute fucking bitch because there is so much work involved (designing and running your own experiment). As much as I hated the class while I was taking it, it actually taught me to be able to look at research in most science fields and be able to tell if the research/finding is legit or if the researchers manipulated a lot of shit to get a result they wanted.
     
  12. Senna Vs. Prost

    Senna Vs. Prost
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    Most of what I know I learnt from the RMMB and various blogs. I wish I was kidding.
     
  13. Noland

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    Pet peeve rant follows.

    I graduated from The University of the South. I double majored there. History and English. Sewanee requires a concentration from their history majors and mine was Ancient Greece. As a practical matter was this useless? Bet your ass.

    A liberal arts college isn't a trade school. You aren't there to learn how to perform a job. You're there to learn how to think. Which sounds stupid until you look around and realize just how many people can't.
     
  14. Samr

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    I am close to graduating with a major in Public Speaking.

    I have learned quite a few things, from how to fake confidence in front of a large group of people (when in actuality you are so nervous your ass is sweating through your khakis), to how to effectively persuade, to how to convincingly argue positions you disagree with, to the dynamics on interpersonal and non-verbal communication, to how to make different character voices and portray a multi-person conversation by myself.

    All that shit is irrelevant, to the one big thing:

    How to make and deliver a fucking power point presentation.

    It pisses me off to no end when these little cunt rags in my other classes get to "lead a class discussion" and read verbatim off slides that don't match. Look you little sack of shit, you used the wrong "there," every third bullet point comes in bouncing on the screen, for some reason you had the audacity to insert a fucking train whistle sound when you were discussing idealism, and you put yellow font on a red background in motherfucking comic sans.

    DAMNIT!
     
  15. taste_my_rainbow

    taste_my_rainbow
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    I was in school for 8 years. At four different colleges. With 6 majors. I know a ton of useful shit. Although it's outdated in the computer age, drafting by hand is probably the most valuable thing I learned. I am just finishing the drawings for a friend who's house burned and I took the elevations by to show him and clarify a couple things and he said "Goddamn. You fucking drew those? You need to be getting major cash for doing these." It made me very proud of myself.
     
  16. ghettoastronaut

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    In freshman biology I learned why tea develops a foam when it's been microwaved from cold.

    The solubility of a gas in liquid increases as temperature decreases. Hot tea / coffee has little dissolved gas because it's been boiled. When it's still and cool, gas dissolves in it. When it's heated back up, the solubility goes down. When sugar is added, that displaces the dissolved gas. So, bubbles form. And voila, the foam.
     
  17. dubyu tee eff

    dubyu tee eff
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    Thinks he has a chance with Christina Hendricks...

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    Am I the only one who learned a lot?

    I learned Spanish, lots of mathematics, Micro and Macroeconomic model building, became a much much better writer, statistics, how to research properly, the indescribable changes in my personality due to studying abroad. That's just off the top of my head. This doesn't even get into the benefits of the social scenes and living in new york city. While I probably learned more philosophy and facts on my own than I did in class, the formal tools are all incredibly valuable and easily worth my tuition money and opportunity cost(another thing I learned in college).
     
  18. Aetius

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    We're talking about college, not high school.
     
  19. PeaMan

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    I'm doing a physics degree.

    I can solve a hydrogen atom.
     
  20. RCGT

    RCGT
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    I learned how to open a beer bottle in the stall door of a public restroom.