I don’t know how to do my taxes, but I can tell you when Michelangelo died

At the end  of a recent post, I started questioning why our college educators waste their time teaching us irrelevant subjects that have no relation to our focus of study, like philosophy and history. And I’m not insinuating that I didn’t enjoy these courses, because most of the time, they landed at the more vibrant end of the spectrum after putting my course load into perspective. However, they serve no purpose to me, especially when it comes to getting a job, starting my career, and making important decisions that effect me long-term. My concern here is mostly that these irrelevant classes that make up our “core curriculum”, could have been replaced by more useful and insightful tips for everyday life. (And also that most classes like these require you to buy a custom made textbook from your hippie and homeless looking professor that your school store never buys back).

For most of us, we graduate from school and are faced with decisions regarding our loan payments like how many years we wish to make payments for, where to consolidate them, fixed or variable interest rates, etc. Now for us business majors, we were fortunate to have finance classes included in our curriculum, so we know a thing or to about that language of rates and numbers that’s almost incomprehensible. But for those of you who were in either a School of Liberal Arts or School of Nursing, God help you and pray that you’re blessed with parents who can help with these hefty decisions.

As it’s now February, it’s accountants favorite time of the year- tax season! And as a lot of my friends are slaving away day in and day out crunching numbers, my other friends are probably clueless on how to even begin filing their taxes. Even as business major, I don’t think I could do it alone. Why weren’t we taught something useful like this? Tax season is something that is inevitable for the rest of our lives as long as you hold a job. And since all us tax payers are all looking for the same end goal, to receive the biggest return, it’d be nice to have an idea on achieving that.

Other useful things that might not be relevant to us now, but will be in the future, are expenses and responsibilities like mortgages, home owners insurance, life insurance, drawing up wills, etc. I’ll stop there because I hope that most people reading this are no where near dying, but still, it would be nice to have common knowledge on these concerns when the time comes.

Truth be told, when I’m faced with any practical life decisions, I don’t think knowing about Dolly Madison, Aristotle, when the Sistine Chapel was painted, how to cite a research paper, or how to determine how train X made it from point A to B, will prove useful. Sure, some of this might be interesting knowledge to possess, prove helpful during a round of Quizzo, or serve as random fun facts, but I don’t find them as being worth the amount they cost in tuition dollars. But again, I guess we’re not paying for what we actually learn, just the proof that we put our time in and got that expensive piece of paper at the end.

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What Deems Someone as ‘Qualified’?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, obtaining your Bachelor’s degree is nothing more than taking a bunch of irrelevant classes for four years (with the exception of people who majored in something very specific like nursing or teaching), spending a lot of money, and coming out with nothing to show but a piece of paper that’s supposed to deem you as ‘qualified’. But what really makes someone qualified? Experience? Skills? Knowledge? It’s all garbage. According to an article published by The Washington Post, only 27% of college grads have a job related to their major.

While job searching, when I’m seriously considering applying for a position within a company, particularly smaller or newer companies, I like to look at the ‘who we are’ page and read the description under each employee. Before discovering that alarming statistic above, I was shocked when I would read that employees within marketing or financial positions in a firm would have degrees in education or biology or political science. People who have no degree even remotely related to business are the future of Corporate America.

I understand this though I suppose. It doesn’t take a genius to learn basic office skills and most companies provide a standard, two week training process when hiring new employees, whether you’re fresh out of college or have been working in the field for 20 years. So why do all of these companies set these unrealistic requirements of experience in their job descriptions? Probably a question I’ll never know, or understand, the answer to. Most entry-level jobs could 100% be done by someone who never even went to college because I don’t feel any smarter than someone who’s highest degree is a high school diploma. Kudos to those people for saving those tuition dollars.

I don’t necessarily remember every aspect of what I learned in college, at least not enough to make me an expert in anything particular, but I know that when I was there I remembered it for the duration of a semester. To me, this is equivalent to attending a two week training session in which you are exposed to the kind of work your new employer needs you to do and when you begin work you continue to learn and you’ll remember it for the duration of your time there, but once it’s over? It’s back to square one when you begin at another job and have another two week training session. So why does a Bachelor’s degree deem someone qualified?

What we learned in college, in my opinion, is irrelevant. All the bullshit philosophy and art history classes aren’t going to help me in any job I ever have. Sure, they may have been interesting, but for the price I paid for them to not be useful? It’s a waste. But this bring me to another point which I’ll unfold in my next post- stay tuned!