What I Should Have Learned in College (But Didn’t)

The older I get, the more I wish I knew. My desire to learn comes from a different place. It isn’t a have to thing, it’s a want to thing. If only we waited until our late twenties to go to college. I would have paid more attention. I would have gotten my money’s worth. I would have learned.

Sometimes I think that my college education failed me. Sure, I’m still 7 years away from being done paying for it. But what is it doing for me, now, today? When I think about the skills and tools that would really benefit me in the workforce (and in life), it leads me to consider what I did learn in college. And it turns out, it’s not really the stuff that I wish I knew.

A better name for this list would be: Life skills I wish I had.

What I Should Have Learned in College (But Didn't) | eastandblog.com

1. Excel everything

The single best thing that a college could teach graduates is how to do every possible crazy thing with Microsoft Excel. I’ve worked in the corporate and non-profit world. You need Excel no matter what. And while I’ve picked up some things along the way, being an Excel master would have been a huge help.

2. Personal Finance

This should have been the first class that everyone took in college, given that we nearly all left college in debt. I’m embarrassed to admit that I still know very little about interest rates and investing. I know nothing about mortgages. And if for some reason online banking ever went kaput, I’d have no idea how much money I had on a day-to-day basis (Okay ballpark? Yes. Down to the cent? No.).

3. How to write a press release

This is where my college major specifically failed me. My degree is in Communication. Every employer I’ve had assumes that I learned to write a press release. Not the case. Though I have some experience from an internship, not once did a professor touch on this.

4. Coding

For obvious (blogging) reasons. And because I’m pretty sure computers are taking over the world so it would be nice to know how to control them.

5. Resume writing

Never a bad skill. At N’s brother’s college, they didn’t graduate until they had a sparkling resume, seriously reviewed by experts. Doesn’t it make so much sense to send graduates into the world, ready to apply to jobs, stellar resumes in hand? What a great way to make sure graduates get their money’s worth.

All this said, I don’t regret my degree one bit. I loved every minute of college and it was worth every penny. I just think that much of what I learned was life experience type stuff, not actual applicable skills.

And some things college couldn’t teach me, but life should have by this point:

1. Keeping track of small belongings

I’m pretty sure my catchphrase is “I can’t find my phone.” The answer is nearly always – the most random possible place.

2. Buying toilet paper in a timely fashion

Like before you realize you have 2 squares left and no back up roll.

3. Parallel parking

6 months of city living and I still haven’t mastered this one! Pretty impressive, right?

So do tell, what life skill do you wish you’d learned in college, or at least by this point in your life? 

If you liked this post, you might enjoy:

24 Things I Learned in College (But Not in the Classroom)

10 Things College Kids Just Don’t Get


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