Teach Me How to Whittle

By NerdNerd May 24, 2009

 nerd111All my friends are graduating from college this week. Look at them, on their Facebooks, smiling in the sunshine, drinking beer in the street, making the rest of us jealous.

I graduated from college last year and on this, the one year anniversary of wrapping up my education, I was feeling a little lonely and glum. So, I went to see a queer dance troupe in cat costumes perform Prince songs. It made me feel a lot better. Thanks, Cattitude.

Anyway, as I waited for the stage lights to darken, I reflected on how I’ve utilized my college education in my 365 post-college days. I went to a liberal arts school and the joke is always that your degree there is worthless. Au contraire, I realized. In honor of the Liberal Arts and kollege in general, I decided to compile a short list of the things I learned in school that have been most useful in the real world—and four things I wish I’d studied harder.  

 The Most Important Lessons I Learned at Liberal Arts College

How to dance. Before arriving at college, my role at concerts was “insecure wallflower.” But at a freshman year Le Tigre concert, I busted out moves unseen since I was five and I’ve been at home on the dance floor ever since. Jobs in the real world—well, at least mine—involve a more meetings at bars and co-worker bonding at dance nights than I could ever have imagined.

How to drink. I was taught table manners and fashion basics from a young age, but, based on my extensive personal observation, many Americans never learn the art of  "drinking enough but not a lot," of using alcohol to relax but not explode. This is key for the office Christmas party and for maintaining human friendship in general.

How to talk.  Eight AM “European During Enlightenment” class should really have been titled “Bullshitting 101: A highly useful and effective skill you will use everyday.”

How to make friends with everyone, even people who should just get over themselves shut up sometimes. Nothing teaches diplomacy and discreetness like living for four years in a community of 1,500 stressed out, ambitious and hormonal 18-22 year olds. First rule: choose boyfriends very, very carefully.

The Most Important Lessons I Wish I had Learned at Liberal Arts College

Percentages. What the fuck? What to do with money in case you ever have any. The real world swirls with unsound financial advice and I have no idea what these lines on the stock market mean despite my extensive understanding of the crawfish neuromuscular system.

Home health care remedies. Since they’re not into offering career-focused degrees, liberal arts colleges should couple each creative writing class with a “DIY Healthcare for the Uninsured.”

More post apocalyptic skills. If the economy does collapse and The Road is mistaken by future generations for a documentary, I am sure business majors will eat me alive. I wish someone had taught me how to ride a motorcycle while on fire or, at the very least, how to whittle.

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