Things you learned in school that are now useless

And no, I’m not talking about the imports and exports of Guatemala or something.

I’ve always been a bookworm, and when I was a kid, we were all taught to use card catalogs. I always found something oddly satisfying in going through those drawers of cards, looking for Just The Right Book. I suppose all those nicely ordered cards appealed to my OCD tendencies or something.

I haven’t seen a card catalog in years. I miss them, even if computers are faster.

Coloring in the lines. For all the importance they placed on it in kindergarden, I don’t think I’ve used it much since.

Well, it has been quite awhile since I’ve had occasion to whip out the old slide rule (always a crowd pleaser). Likewise, I can’t remember the last time a friend or co-worker asked me to help them diagram a sentence. And I used to be able to conjugate like a sumbitch, but the years catch up with you eventually and some things just don’t work like they used to.

Skew-T Log-P

Spent a semester learning about this clusterf*%$. Never used it, not once, in my life since I graduated.

I was really good at formatting envelopes and centering pages on the ol’ IBM Selectric.

Yeeeeeeeeeeeah. Real useful.


Damn variables.

Sentence diagramming. For all the time I spent doing it in class, I can’t recall a single instance of it helping me in any way, ever.

Cleaning chalk boards.

Well, aside from the obvious List of Stuff I Had to Memorize and Have Never Since Used, and the cynical “don’t trust anyone/life sucks, then you die” sort of thing, I also have not used a card catalog in many years, but I actually find online research much easier. The programming I did in Basic … well, I’ll be using that along with chique on Turn Back the Computer Clock day when I also bust out the old computer-in-a-suitcase. And all that practice I had with Clipart, I might as well have used that time to file my taxes, because those progs have all gone the way of the ceramic Dodo.

I learned how to use the card catalogue as well! I miss that and I haven’t seen it since I was living in a small town.

At least the dewey decimal system hasn’t gone that way.

How to use trig tables.
The capital of East Germany. (Not to mention the various and sundry pieces of information about the Soviet Union.)
Card catalogs. (I also liked card catalogs.)
Typewriter tricks.
Formatting 5.25 floppies.

Slide rules.
BASIC programming.
Punch card programming.
Everything that nancy-boy English professor crammed down our throats about William Faulkner in American Lit.

Venn diagrams. man, I hated those things at school, and I already knew i’d would never, ever use them.
All the engineering drawing skills, with a slide rule, compass, setsquare etc, I loved doing that but its completely redundant due to Illustrator/CAD now.
most of the scientific tests for things, most maths, algebra etc.

We learned the correct way to address a different members of the RC clergy. Apart from seeing a priest at the occasional wedding, christening or at a funeral mass, it has proved to be of no use to me whatsoever.
Never met a Bishop and I wouldn’t even recognise a Cardinal.

Log tables - never needed to whip a set of them out since I left school.

It did for me, ever since leaving high school. My undergraduate library and my current graduate library both use the Library of Congress cataloging scheme. All that proficiency I gained with Dewey Decimal, doing research at the public library near my high school, will go unused until I start to frequent a library that uses Dewey Decimal.


Long division & trigonometry (hail to the calculator, baby!)

Thank you. I never once was asked in a job interview to diagram a sentance.

Detention. They made me practice all the time but they don’t have it outside school.

The Hustle. Learned how to do it in gym.

A couple years ago I met someone who was into model trains. He told me his new engine could go up 1 inch for every three inches across, he wanted to build a hill a certain height and needed to know how long the plank of wood needed to be that the train would go up.

Hey! I thought! Pythagorean Theorem! I was actually able to use it outside of school!

I was in charge of the film strip projector in grade school, not much call for that skill these days.