Your childhood and adolescent education, most of it anyway, was all for nothing. You will realize now, if you haven’t already, how 90% of the things you learned in school and college are really useless in real life. You will never, ever need to know the value of pi or the formula for calculating the circumference of a circle while running late for work. Instead of teaching us life skills like how to cook or file our tax returns, schools just decided that photosynthesis and periodic tables are the way to go. Basically, they lied when they said ‘this is important.’ Consequently, if you have ever wondered why you were learning how to calculate the mass of an object or the cost of thirty seven pumpkins, you know now that you were not alone. Our school and college syllabus pretty much ensured that we never learned anything of any real value, so here is a list of the top 15 subjects that we especially redundant-
15- F = ma
The most famous equation of high school physics is something you will never use in real life. It doesn’t help beyond solving those numericals in the exam. You will never have the need to calculate the force of a falling body if you have its mass and rate of acceleration, trust me on that.
14- How to dissect a flower or a frog
If you did this in tenth grade biology, you know now that it was a useless task. It was nothing that couldn’t be explained on the board with a diagram. To kill a frog for that is just unnecessary.
13- How to cite sources
When in the real world will you be asked to cite your sources? Unless you are a professor or an academic, this one life skill is probably redundant for you. And with citation generators online, you don’t even need to know the order of the words anymore. But that doesn’t mean you don’t cite your sources on that paper you have probably paraphrased while browsing the net. Plagiarism is wrong.
12- How to make potato battery
The only thing you need to know about electricity is that it costs. A lot. The only thing you need to know about potatoes is that they are delicious. Very. Knowing that potatoes are good conductors and making batteries out of them, while it may be fun, is not an essential life skill. Potatoes are best when they’re fried and on my plate, not when they are being used as a power source.
11- Learning the Periodic Table
It was difficult, it was useless, it never really helps you in real life. And you will forget it as soon as you leave high school. Learning the periodic table, or at least a few elements off of it with their valancies, will never help you beyond getting an A in chemistry in tenth grade. So don’t worry too much if you can’t memorize it.
10- Proving that two triangles are congruent
If you even remember this one in your 20s, hats off to you. Unless you are planning on becoming an eighth grade math teacher, this one is completely useless. Nobody will give you to triangles and ask you to prove that they are congruent, similar, equilateral or isosceles or whatever else triangles can be. It just is not polite dinner conversation.
9- How to make a volcano model
This remains one of the most popular science projects ever. Little kids love blowing up volcanoes, and you probably did too. All it takes is vinegar, detergent, a container, some food coloring and baking soda. It’s messy and fun and all in the name of science. Unfortunately, as you grow up to live your perpetually broke adult life, the only detergent you will use will be to wash your clothes occasionally and baking soda will probably rot in your pantry because you will never bake anything. You will probably never make a volcano model again, because that’s not what adults do.
8- Sanskrit. Latin or other classical languages
Depending on what part of the world you live in, your curriculum will probably include one of these. In India, most schools teach Sanskrit as a compulsory language for three to four years. In the Western education model, it is Latin. While these languages are good to know, the fact is you will forget them within a couple of years. The only Latin that you will use will be ‘carpe diem’ while partying. Since nobody actually speaks these languages anymore, you will end up not using them in day to day life at all.
7- How to write in cursive
We can all remember the endless classes we have spent painstakingly writing in beautiful cursive. Schools paid a lot of emphasis on how good your writing was and how connected your letters were. In this day and age, however, cursive is not really a useful thing to learn. Since most assignments are printed and communication is mostly through text messages, you can forget about your curved g and rounded a.
6- Cirrus clouds versus cumulonimbus clouds
Even in school, learning the difference between different types of clouds earned you maybe just one extra mark in Geography. In adulthood, all you need to know is that clouds mean rain. What the difference between cirrus and cumulonimbus clouds is, you really don’t need to know. You’ll probably never use it unless you plan on becoming a meteorologist or a weather reporter.
5- When a tap will fill a cistern if the cistern has a hole
Seriously! If a cistern has a hole, you throw it away. I swear high school math made no sense at times. If, like me, you too have struggled with arithmetic questions asking you to calculate how much time it takes for a tap to fill a container with water, you can now rest knowing you will never have to use it. And curse all the sleepless nights you spent over such questions.
4- Canterbury Tales
Why we tortured ourselves trying to decipher Chaucer’s convoluted writing is something I will never understand. Very few English majors liked this part of their curriculum. While Shakespeare’s tragedies are powerful and Adrienne Rich’s poetry is inspiring, all Canterbury Tales ever did to me was make me wonder what I’d done to deserve it.
3- How to drop an egg without breaking it
This was again a favourite project that science teachers loved assigning their students. If you have ever scratched your head wondering WHY anyone would want to drop an egg five floors down a building, join the club. It didn’t help you then and it won’t help you now. All it did was waste your mother’s groceries. Seriously, this assignment made no sense and made us waste precious food besides.
2- Mind Maps
If your English teacher has ever insisted that you use a mind map to write an essay, you will know what I’m talking about. While some may find mind maps helpful, a majority of us just find them annoying. A lot of us just prefer writing things down as they come to us, and structuring them later. And plus, in this day and age when most people write on laptops so they can add, delete and edit as they please and as an idea strikes them, mind maps are becoming increasingly redundant.
This is a personal pet peeve. How does one ever use calculus in real life?! It does not help you divide the bill equally amongst six people or in paying your taxes. All it did was give you anxiety dreams and possibly a few fail grades in assignments. Learning differentiation and integration was one of the most difficult, time consuming and useless things I ever did. And it never helped me.