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5 Real College Classes You Should Have Taken

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If there is one thing that sums up most college kids, it’s that they never accurately realize how important school is. They either skipped as much class as possible and maintained the minimum GPA, or they did nothing but study, and missed out on everything that irresponsible drinking habits have to offer. If there is one thing I wish I had known during college, it’s what classes would have actually been useful later on and which ones I could have blown off. It’s not about education, people. It’s about efficiency. There are some classes, however, I did take that have helped me out a lot more than I thought they would. There were also a couple I’m kicking myself for not at least enrolling in, just to show up for a lecture to at the least. Here are a few classes that are more useful than we originally thought.

1. Accounting

You know how growing up, you always heard about how much doing your taxes sucks? Well, it’s true. Sure, you could pay someone to do it for you, but being a postgrad with no mortgage, wife, kids, or significant investments, that’s a bit like hiring a landscaper to water the flowers in your shitty apartment. Tax software helps, but it’s still good to have a baseline idea of how the information you provide is significant.

And that’s not even getting into how it could help you in your current job. Even if your position has nothing to do with the finances of your company, you make yourself a lot more valuable simply by being able to read a balance sheet. Plus, when you decide to start embezzling corporate funds to pay for your inevitable gambling habit, you’ll know how to hide it.

2. Constitutional Law

If you’re a degenerate like me, you’ve resigned yourself to the idea that you’ll probably get arrested for something someday. Sure, I’m a lot more careful these days than I used to be, and the invention of Uber has prevented a lot of bad scenarios where I might have taken the risk of driving when I shouldn’t have. But when you live a certain lifestyle, it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that you’ll end up doing something, however small, that will land you in a pair of steel bracelets. And when that day comes, you should know what to say and what not to say. You’d be surprised to know how many Constitutional protections you have if you play your cards right. Avoiding incrimination is sort of like following the Yellow Brick Road. It’s not all that hard to find your way, there’s a beautiful Emerald City at the end, and all you have to do is avoid the flying monkeys–the monkeys being the police in this semi-coherent metaphor. So read some Supreme Court decisions and learn what “fire in a crowded theater” actually means before you got out and create a public ruckus next time.

3. Art History

I go both ways on this topic. On one hand, it’s great to have an in-depth knowledge of art and its history. On the other, people who are interested in art are, for the most part, unbearable pricks who are not as educated as they’d have you think. If anything, studying art allows you to wade through the bullshit. You can’t call someone out who talks about Jackson Pollock in a pretentious way without having a solid understanding of abstract expressionism. Plus, if you’re going to impress the lads and ladies who visit your bachelor or bachelorette pad, you’ll want to have some decent pieces of art hanging on the wall. My room has three framed film one-sheets, a print of Hendrix’s “Axis: Bold As Love” cover, and a painting of a tiger that I found on the side of the road. You wouldn’t call any of them seminal pieces, but I have extremely personal reasons for all of them being there. This isn’t something many “art lovers” can say for their collection.

4. International Relations

Do you know what’s going on in Ukraine right now? I bet you think you do, but you probably don’t. I’m of the belief that everyone should have to study international relations theory before they’re allowed to speak about foreign policy. Granted, I also think every Pitchfork dick-sucking, wannabe music snob should have listen to “Metal Machine Music” before they tell me for the 19th time how Lou Reed is such a fucking genius, but I digress. I dislike people’s constant use of morality when talking about how countries interact with each other. If you actually learn one thing today, it should be this: There are no morals or ethics in international relations, only positioning and power in a state of anarchy. That’s not a good or a bad thing–that is a reality. So spare me the waterworks about the innocent people of Crimea, a region that you didn’t even know existed until a month ago. Pick up a book by Kenneth Waltz and get some neorealism in your life, dummies.

5. Tennis

People say golf is the sport of businessmen, and that’s true. Every man (and woman, in my opinion) should, at the very least, have a competent golf swing. But you can learn golf on your own. Obviously, tennis requires a partner. Trust me when I say this, if you’re a beginner, no one wants to play with you. I’m a barely mediocre player, and I refuse to play with my buddy Watkins ever again, because the dude just creams it to the back fence every damn time. But if you had taken an elective tennis class in college, you would’ve been thrown in with a bunch of other beginners. This still sucks, but you’d at least be doing it under the supervision of a coach. Then, once you get the basics down, sure, ask one of your trust fund buddies who’s been playing on his backyard court since he was five if he wants to get a few sets in. He’ll trash your ass ruthlessly, but at least he’ll buy the first round of drinks at the country club bar afterward.

These are just the tip of the iceberg. I think students should be obligated to take classes way out of their realm of study just to get some perspective. Art students should have to take some business classes, and accounting kids should probably take music appreciation. Physics majors can stay in their department, though, because they’re never going to leave the lab for the rest of their lives, and no one can understand them anyway. You’d think this would be more obvious to college administrators, but they’re too busy grubbing up absurd amounts of student loan money before the bubble inevitably bursts. So it goes.

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Randall J. Knox

Randall J. Knox (known colloquially to his friends as "Knox") left his native Texas a few years ago, and moved to Los Angeles in his '03 Buick Regal named LeRoi to write movies with his jackass college buddies. His favorite things in life include bourbon that's above his pay grade, mix CDs, and Kevin Costner films. He isn't sure what "dad jeans" are exactly, but he knows he wants a pair.

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