Monday, May 26, 2008

Things You Learned in School That You Will Never Use Again...

With the end of another school year approaching the "V" List would like to take this time to congratulate all the teachers and students for their hard work. For those of you still sitting inside a classroom, I don't have to explain how hard it is given this time of year to stay focused on reading, writing, and 'rithmatic. For graduating seniors who will soon spread their wings and fly, here is a brief list dedicated to you. For thirteen years the American educational system has crammed tons of information inside of your heads, and while most of what you have gained throughout the course of your years of study might prove useful in the "real world", here is a list of things we can say you will rarely use (if ever). The "V" List presents crap you learned in high school that you will never use again:

5. The Quadratic Formula

Most of use can recite the quadratic formula without use of a cheat sheet. For those far removed from school is goes something like this : x equals minus b, plus or minus the square root of b squared minus 4ac over 2a. I cannot tell you how many times I plugged numbers into that damn equation and was told how important it would be in my life. I guess if you sit around crunching numbers all day, this might prove useful, but I can say without a doubt that my checkbook and bank account can remain balanced without ever having to use this damn formula. I hope to say at some point in my natural life I will forget these meaningless numbers and variables, but they are forever etched in my brain for no apparent reason. Thank you Algebra for ruining my life!

4. Random introductory foreign language dialogues:

Let me say that foreign languages are indeed very useful, especially if you are a world traveler, or live in an area of this country that is bilingual. There are some components of foreign language that we were told to memorize, however, that will be of very little value in the real world. For example, why do I have to memorize in French the fact that I am studying for a math test, which I will take in five minutes? Or, that Juan is in the library? Perhaps the best parody of this useless information can be found in the movie Bedazzled whereby the main character speaks Spanish fluently and repeats the rote dialogues he learned in school. It's so funny because the dialogues are so useless. You can survive with these three phrases: Where is the bathroom? Where is the bus station? Where is the nearest restaurant? Aside from that: I don't need any other basic dialogue options burned into my brain Senora.

3. Learning the Presidents in chronological order

Aside from competing on Jeopardy this is the most useless piece of knowledge ever given to elementary students. Why in the hell do you need to know who the seventeenth president of the United States was? The answer is that you DO NOT. Unless you are stuck in a MacGuyver like deathtrap which will unlock only if you press the correct presidents in sequential order, then this piece of knowledge will do nothing for you in the workplace.

2. The Periodic Table
No subject is going untouched in this list, and science teachers all over the United States cram this garbage into everybody's head. Once again, if you are in this field of study, I'm sure that you require a knowledge of electrons, protons, and mass of each atom, however for the majority of us living in the real world, it is utterly pointless. When was the last time you went to the supermarket and said, I would buy this food, but I'm worried about the molecules that go into it's composition. How many oxygen atoms does this contain again? Shenanigans!
1. MLA / APA Citations

If you're a college students you may disagree with me, but beyond college, chances are you will never have to cite your crap ever again. For those interested, the "V" list used for this article the following source: Valentine, Marc C. Online interview. 26 May 2008. Outside of academia, parenthetical citations have no use. The works cited page is one of the most tedious and useless exercises in the history of American education. It's so terrible I would like to thank Jesus for amazing websites like, which take the pain out of this activity for every student in America. I wish that I had a site like this when I was doing my Turabian style footnotes for my senior seminar paper in college. Turabian is even worse than APA/MLA by the way. It's something that history professors use so they can speak in code to each other. Next year when I file my taxes I might create a works cited page for my accountant just so I feel like I got some use out of that good ol' high school diploma again.

Congrats Seniors, I feel your pain. Good luck in college! If there was anything that belongs on the list, shout back at us in a comment.


Michael said...

so true, so true. except i used the periodic table to write a commercial, so i can't complain too much. i also have used Euclid's axioms to try and name products. Ha! Great post.

Anonymous said...

Are we really related? DRINK MORE!

Laura said...

I actually use MLA citations ALL the time at work for sourcing research in presentations. I even had to dig out an old college text book to make sure I was doing it properly.