5 Things I Wish I Didn’t Learn in College

Here’s a really good post on things we probably should have been taught in college.

I agree most of the items but would have placed them in different order.

I figured I’ll try to come up with a list of my own.

Here’s my list of 5 things I wish I didn’t learn in college.

  1. Useless knowledge
    How many courses did I have to take because it was simply required for graduation? As a computer science major, why do I have to take American History 101? Why am I wasting tuition money on a course that I have no interest in? I’m all for developing “well-rounded” individuals but why can’t university allow the individuals decide where they want to be well-rounded in? Just because I’m a computer science major doesn’t mean I have other interests. I had interests in psychology, film, and I’m sorry to say, math. Let me choose to take courses that interest me.
  2. Short-term regurgitation
    This is probably a by-product of the first thing I wish I didn’t learn. The fact that I had to take these mind-numbing classes that were of no interest to me, I quickly learned to memorize what I didn’t to and spit it out come test time. The fundamental problem with this is that it is blind-knowledge. I don’t know why, I just know who, what, when, how.
  3. Time Mismanagement
    I always found it funny when job interviews asked me, how do you manage your time at college? Or how do you organize your schedule if you know you have a lot of things coming up? To be honest, I didn’t learn how to management my time. I learned how to stay up late, being useless and watching Late Night with Conan O’Brien. I learned how to wait until the last minute and get things done in the nick of time. I didn’t have a day planner. I didn’t use Outlook Calendar. How many hours did I waste surfing Facebook, playing computer games, watching TV instead of getting to bed for that 8am class or studying for that test, or writing that 30 page paper. Sure I got through it, but I’m sure the quality of the work would have been so much better if I had utilized my time better.
  4. Working on a Team
    Yes, I know. This was on the other list. I put this here because my college experience with team work was generally crappy. College gave me the false impression that all group work would be like this: One or two people doing all the work, everyone else mooching off the work. There is no accountability. Professors turn a blind eye to it. The most professors can offer is “work it out among yourselves.” In college, there are your “haves” and your “have-nots”. The “haves” have the drive, determination, and interest in doing well in the courses and contributing to the team. The “have-nots” simple don’t have any interest in doing the work or contributing anything worthwhile. It turns out in the real world people take a vested interest in the work they are apart of. This isn’t true everywhere but at least you have some control over it. You can surround yourself with passionate people and, even for the dispassionate people, at least there is real accountability. Losing a job is much more of a severe consequence that a poor letter grade.
  5. Lecture Learning
    This is more of a criticism of how a lot of courses are taught. Usually there’s a single professor standing up in the front of a class with a PowerPoint presentation with about 70 slides of material. For the next hour and a half, the processor proceeds to talk through the slides. You walk out of that room feeling mind-numbing bored and sleepy. This is a terrible way to learn. It’s only one-way. There is no creativity. There’s no exploration of concepts. It’s just facts. It is because it is. There’s no room to ask “why?” or question the why. On a small scale it promotes conformism. Conform to think the same way as the previous class. New ideas are inspired by taking a step outside of conformism. With lecture-style learning, the only reason why I would pick up a book is to read about something I missed when the professor went over it in his/her slides. If the learning was more dialogue between the professor and the students, students have a vested interest in thinking about the concepts deeper than face value. They would pick up the book to not only learn more about the concepts but to come up with their own beliefs and thoughts that they can contribute to the dialogue.

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