Monday, December 12, 2011

There's an Awful Lot of Knowledge...

...that you never learn in college." Did you ever hear that old jingle?

I ran across this quote recently and loved it:

‎"I've been making a list of the things they don't teach you at school. They don't teach you how to love somebody. They don't teach you how to be famous. They don't teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don't teach you how to walk away from someone you don't love any longer. They don't teach you how to know what's going on in someone else's mind. They don't teach you what to say to someone who's dying. They don't teach you anything worth knowing." 
— Neil Gaiman

I've been thinking about that quote a lot lately. There are so many things that have a huge impact on our lives that we don't study in school, let alone really understand. There's a great and funny (and long, sorry folks) article by David Brooks about this.

Once in high school I told my mom that I think anyone who's smart and observant is a "natural psychologist." I might have meant "philosopher," if I had really thought about it. The point is that the most important things we will ever know are learned through experience, through human interaction, through trial-and-error and through paying attention. School doesn't really teach us all that much compared to what we learn on our own time.

Here are a few things that I wish I knew, or that I wish I had known earlier, and that school didn't teach me:

What to say to somebody who is grieving

How to fall asleep on time and wake up on time

How to raise plants that don't die after two weeks

What to do when someone says something rude/mean at a party

How to keep your temper in the face of the above predicament

What you're really supposed to do with your life (your vocation)

How to reject a guy so that you don't hurt his feelings or embarrass him

How to cook and feed yourself healthily on a serious budget

How to pray

The best way to clean a bathtub (I've tried several and none have been entirely satisfactory)

How to make other people feel good about themselves

How to tell if you're in love with someone

How to have really good hair all of the time

The dream lives on.
Those are just a few ideas. What do you think is really important to know that you didn't learn about in school?


  1. I never learned how to accept a compliment properly.

  2. Ooohh that's a really good one! Actually, in high school, David and I used to practice giving each other compliments and receiving them graciously in order to get better at it... but I'm still bad at it haha