I was a fairly good student in high school but much of it was a blur and very little stuck to my brain.
- Calculus and Algebra. I think math is probably very interesting but besides the calculator app on my phone doesn’t play much of a role in my life. I wish it did. I still can’t quite figure out how to do percentages.
- French. I took it for five years. I can barely order a croissant in a Parisian café.
- English literature. Hawthorne. Faulkner. McCullers. Joyce. Emerson. They were a drag and a grind when I was a teenager. Now I read them for fun but would love to have Mr. Knies to help parse them.
- Sophomore year Shakespeare. My professor at Princeton was D.W. Robertson one of the world’s leading experts on the bard. Now all I remember is that he made us memorize the beginning of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and read Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy. I don’t remember what they were about or why we read them.
- 10th grade Latin. I vaguely remember terms like ‘ablative’ and ‘declension’ but, besides memorizing the Lords Prayer in Latin (which I still know by heart), it’s all pretty much a tabula rasa.
- 10th grade American History. We had to memorize so many dates. Their significance is long lost on me but I suspect I never knew them. Just the numbers.
Junior year oceanography. I think tides have something to do with the moon but the rest is pretty fuzzy
- 10th grade Biology. As my own biology plays more and more of a role in my life it would be great if this science was less of a mystery. What does my pancreas do again?
- 11th grade chemistry: a complete blank.
- Physics: Did I even take it?
Lesson learned: Education is wasted on the young
6 thoughts on “Ten classes I wish I had paid more attention to in school”
quite, right, Danny…I especially wish I had been able to study Latin as it seems now the basis of so many other languages but being told you’re not bright enough to study it beyond the basics and told to do needlework instead was the beginning of many such things that school ‘did’ to me thus informing me that i would never achieve anything and had better simply get married…oh, once I had trained as a secretary! But in the end one goes ones own way and learns from the world and experience, good and bad. Onward and upward as they say…keep encouraging us along, Danny, I still need to know I am not ‘the odd one out’ even at 72! I hope we do the same for you too!
I have heard that we remember only 5% of what we are exposed to in school and elsewhere. That means very little information sticks. We are all in the same boat.
You may find the crashcourse videos on youtube interesting – my understanding of American history is far better than it was before watching that video series.
I did okay in school, but I do wish I’d put more effort into studying foreign languages (Hebrew and Spanish, in my case). And I wish I’d taken more art classes in college.
Up until now I could have sworn we had been separated at birth, but you didn’t mention Philosophy, so now I’m really confused!
I’m glad others feel “odd man out.” You are not alone, Dorothy Barton. I believe that those who are “odd man out” often pause quietly and notice the world around them with all its details. We’re artists and that’s what we do, at your 72, at my 76, at Danny’s young aging…all our lives whether we’re aware of it or not that’s what we’re doing. We’re a wonderful and wonder-filling tribe. Smiling, Zena P.S. My curiosity has led me to learn about subjects I probably could have learned in school. The difference is now I remember more. Books take me anywhere and into most subjects. I have often visited the Children’s Room at the Library to start my research. Sometimes that led to further investigation and sometimes it was just enough.
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I agree, and I’m still studying.
For me school was most of the times a big misunderstanding. a waste of time. though it has its positive points sure. The most important, useful and interesting things, I’ve learnt outside the school or at least out of the school programme.
from what I know in most of the countries it’s the same story… since ever, people teach children stuff about the past that has nothing to do with their present, and “forget” to give them tools for them to could deal with the future.