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What they don’t teach you in school

April 18, 2010

As I’ve mentioned before, I recently graduated from college and have set out into the real world.  What has struck me the most is how ill prepared I was to enter into not only life but also the workplace.  There are life skills I never managed to pick up along the way (my dad has been lecturing me on the finer points of grocery shopping), but also technical skills for work.  I have spent YEARS in school, but I seem to have walked away with very little practical knowledge.  Of course, that may be my own fault for studying Latin… but why don’t colleges teach you practical skills?

I feel like I have a pretty good grip on technology news, what’s new, what’s how, how it all works, but it seems that none of this knowledge has a practical application.  In elementary school, we learned some fairly sophisticated technology and processes, but 6th grade was basically the end of my computer education.  I picked up a few tricks along the way in finance classes or the like, though nothing that would have a meaningful impact on my day to day.

Existing technology like Excel or even Word, have some pretty neat capabilities that we don’t capitalize on.  I was describing a task I was assigned at work to my father and he said it sounded like a should just do a mail merge — and at that moment, my life was changed.  Why didn’t I learn about mail merges in school?

If everyone is at the same level I am, we are operating way below our potential.  Maybe I should sign up for some sort of a computer class, because even though I feel as so I am literate, maybe literacy isn’t enough.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Aaron permalink
    April 18, 2010 11:06 pm

    After spending my summer in Argus (a real estate finance program) and Excel, I was angry that nowhere in my college education did we learn how to be efficient running basic computer programs. A class on Excel would serve us better in the working world than 95% of the classes we take. Even worse news: other schools, especially Penn, do have these classes, giving our peers a leg up

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