It’s about midnight and I should be in bed. I have work in the morning… but I know I can’t sleep, anyways, when I am brimming with ideas!
Instead of writing the typical “things they don’t teach you in school” post, I think I should also give school some credit because I did learn a thing or two. So here goes.
Things I learned in school
Scheduling for deadlines: I also find this skill to be highly useful at work.
Writing clearly and persuasively: To elucidate my thoughts (which can be scattered and wishy washy), it’s good practice for me to write them down in a manner that’s well structured and concise.
Talking about random high level stuff: this includes how the volume of an arbitrary 3D object and its “other” dimension (which I still don’t get) can be found using triple integrals, theories behind the “thing in itself”, and how economics can be described in terms of trading bananas and coconuts.
Things I didn’t learn in school
Making money and filing your taxes: I’m working on the former and haven’t begun the latter.
Selling yourself: As a person who recoils at the thought of “selling your soul”, it took me a while to realize how this is an important life skill. In school, you get rewarded for having good grades. However, real life just doesn’t work this way. Your IQ might be 140, but if you can’t package your skills and convince others why you are a worthy candidate, it will be a battle against you when it comes to building your career and networks.
Dealing with life’s problem: Initially, I didn’t intend for this to be a light hearted piece; I wanted to focus more on this point especially. I believe the most important skill in life is learning how to get back on your feet—staying strong and optimistic in the face of trauma, loss, stress, conflict and etc. What helps me is realizing that I should not let these obstacles prevail and get in the way of living the life that I want.
Finding the meaning of life: I’m a philosophy major…shouldn’t I have learned this in school? The thing is, everyone’s life is different and we all have our own values and goals. School will not give you the kind of answer that you’re looking for when it comes to giving YOUR life meaning. A part of finding its meaning is creating it.
And there you have it, things I did and didn’t learn in school. 🙂
Photo of me at my graduation in 2014 ( McGill University, Montréal, QC)