Wednesday, October 18, 2006

High school graduates all stupid.

A large chunk of what I learned in high school is no longer stored in my memory banks 12 years down the track. There were some things of specific interest to me that I retained, but most of the maths equations and chemical formulas have long since gone by the way of the dodo. Even the subjects I enjoyed had limited impact on me. I doubt I could name every internal feature of an animal cell or list the geological eras in chronological order. I can’t tell you the exact dates of Dadaism or quote any poems in full.

I put my inability to recall most of what I learned in school down to the fact that it hasn’t proven particularly useful throughout the course of my life. In fact, I’m sort of finding out that most of the knowledge I really need in life I was never taught at all.

I am currently feeling like a complete dope because I’m facing aspects of life I know nothing about, like buying a house and entering a 30-year mortgage.

I tried researching online a little, but the jargon got me down. Offset this and standard variable that. I ended up signing up to be contacted by a financial adviser for some free, no-obligation information. He called me pretty promptly and explained some terminology to me, but I was just glad he couldn’t see my face and is unlikely to ever meet me, because I feel a tad stupid.

My friends recently bought a house and I asked them “How did you do it?” When you’re a little kiddy it never crosses your mind that something like living in your own house could prove the most mind-warping experience ever. I wish I studied at least one subject in economics at university. I feel like all those people who studied economics have a distinct advantage over me.

I don’t really understand what school is all about. Yes, they teach you the basic of adding, how to use a pencil or hold a paint brush, some fundamentals about the layout of the world and a few other things that make good foundations for life, but all that stuff comes from Primary school. What are they teaching us in High school?

The things I wish I learned that I never did include LOTS to do with investing and smart ways to spend money (to avoid being the guy who won $10 million in the lottery and has blown it all in 8 years on incredibly bad advice), how to win friends and influence people (there’s a book, but it’s sexist, racist and horribly out-dated), ways to live without harming animals and the environment, how to cook (not just pizza, but how to use ingredients creatively), how to publish a book, how to design my own clothes, make patterns and sew, how world events and history has influenced local and global economies (to avoid future investment disasters), etc etc etc.

I’m sorry, Ms Maths Teacher, but I never did find a use for the trigonometric sine function of 3dx on 2dy to the inverse power of negative 9. Why didn’t you just teach me how to buy a house?

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