10 Things I Didn’t Learn in School (But I am glad I know)

It’s no secret that education is one of the world’s greatest gifts (and needs). There are, however, many things that are not taught in a classroom – but they’re still very important for a person to know. Here are 10 things I am glad to know even if I didn’t learn them in a classroom. They may not be skills or qualifications to put on a resume, but they’re important nonetheless.

1. Networking - Even though I have only been in New York City a grand total of 19 days, I am starting to see that the phrase, “It’s all about who you know” rings true. Often times, especially at big corporations, people are able to get jobs by knowing someone. They are not unqualified for a position but since they know someone they’re able secure interviews and positions. People have told me that getting interviews is the hardest part of the job search. Others have encouraged me to feel good because I have secured five Big City interviews all on my own. Although, I am still searching for a full-time job.

2. Directions - I am not going to lie: I am happy that I’m not directionally challenged. I have friends that make me want to say, “Please her heart” when I talk about going somewhere with their directions. I remember learning a little bit about how to read a map in third grade, but for the most part directions weren’t covered – you either have the skills or you don’t, sorry. Luckily we have iPhones with a GPS in this day and age.

3. The Ability to Remember Names and Faces - Again, another natural gift. For those people who know me well, you know that I kinda have a freakishly weird memory. This comes in handy when meeting new people (but becareful not to freak them out the next time you see them by revealing that you remember a lot… kinda comes across as creepy), but DO make them feel appreciated by remembering a few little things about them. Good examples: Name (most important), hometown, and company they work for.

4. How to Coordinate Dress Clothes - Not sure where I learned this, perhaps it’s a mix between having two sisters and having subscribed to GQ for the past two and a half years. Now that I am out in the world trying to fulfill the answer to the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I can actually look, and feel, like the grown up I’ve become.

5. Small Talk - Awkward. Awkward. Awkward. When meeting new people there are often super awkward silences. Fortunately, I have become fluent in the language of Small Talk. Some of my recent, most frequent Small Talkquestions have been:

How long have you lived in the city? Where are you from? Where do you work/ live? Where did you do your undergrad? Do these pants make me look fat, or is it my fat that makes me look fat?

Okay I lied, I’ve never actually used that last one.

6. How to Tie a Tie - I remember my English teacher in 8th grade trying to teach our entire class how to tie a tie; I’m sorry, Mr. Schaffer, but it didn’t stick. And the lesson I got on a double Windsor from a guy down the hall in my dorm is long forgotten. I really learned from my step dad, Mark, while going to a family wedding. I am still trying to perfect this art, but practice will make perfect.

7. How to Smile - “Smiling! Smiling’s my favorite!” - Buddy the Elf. “Do you know why I smile? Because it’s worth it.” - Marcel the Shell with Shoes. A dear friend of mine once gave a persuasive speech on why people should smile. Just do it – it’s universal.

8. How to be Patient with People - Between being a server, a life guard, a barista, and a camp counselor I have learned that sometimes people have a rough day and just need a little grace. Keep your cool and cut them some slack, you never know what they’re dealing with.

9.How to Order a Complicated Espresso Drink - How many times have you heard people in front of you order a drink that has about 10 words in it’s title or modifications? Lucky for me, I can translate. Is it a super applicable skill? No. Am I happy to have it? Yes.

10. How to Do Laundry - I started doing my own laundry in sixth grade; I have had many years experience. You won’t see me wearing a stained shift anytime soon.