Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. School Stuff You Still Use

 

Tonight, I had to log onto a career resource and resume template website. I made an account my freshman year of high school; the teacher warned us to create a username and password we could remember because we would be using this website for a long time. The student teacher mentioned he was using it.

I was skeptical. There are many things teachers will tell you will be long-term things that you will use later in your education, or perhaps into your career. As it turned out, a few of these predictions were right, and many were wrong. Not that I think the teachers were universally wrong: Some students probably did go on to use those things, but not me.

I now have three mental lists.

  1. Things teachers told me I would use that I have yet to use
    1.  My trigonometry reference table. I understand that anybody who went on into calculus classes used this. I went into statistics classes and did not.
    2. My “prime after prime” prime number reference sheet from seventh or eighth grade. I was told to hang onto it but lost it within a year. I never needed a prime number reference sheet after eighth grade.
    3. The “Hand over hand” steering technique that they tried to teach me in driver’s ed. (Maybe I do use this sometimes, but I never think about the way I steer…I just drive!)
    4. MLA stuff. This one isn’t exactly true, because I did continue to use it during my first few semesters of college. However, upon getting into my major, I switched to APA, which I like better. When you are writing quickly, it’s so much easier to remember that Allen (2013) said something, rather than remember that this thing was said by Allen on page 11. I thought it was odd that they did not endeavor to teach us both systems in high school. English class focused on MLA, which made sense, but so did all the other teachers, with the exception of one science teacher my freshman year who requested APA formatting.
    5. Factoring and the quadratic equation. Again, people who had to take more than two math courses in college probably use this. I do not.
    6. Strategies to say “no” to drugs. I do not believe I have ever been offered drugs. Where are all these people that were supposed to be offering kids drugs all the time?

2. Things teachers told me I would use that I did use

  1. The aforementioned resume formatting site
  2. Library research skills, especially the online databases
  3. Typing (Although I didn’t learn it when I took the class, I just kind of picked up on it later, and my form is terrible.)
  4. Writing a business letter. (And a resume!)
  5. The metric system. I don’t remember if I was explicitly told “You will use this” or not, but every science class uses it, and it’s just good to be familiar with the system. I know I have needed to convert metric units a lot more than I have needed to convert customary units.
  6. A number of writing strategies. Tenth and eleventh grade were especially productive years because I was required to write a rough draft in 40 minutes.

3. Things nobody expected me to use that I used anyway

  1. Chemistry splash goggles. I bought a pair for a class and keep them around now in case I need to deal with cleaning chemicals that sting my eyes or such things.
  2.  Standardized test skills. Dealing with computer screens or bubble sheets for a long time is a skill, as is the particular style of question that shows up on the tests.
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  1. JosePluma Thatcher

    Dill: Strategies to say “no” to drugs. I do not believe I have ever been offered drugs. Where are all these people that were supposed to be offering kids drugs all the time?

    The first time I was offered marijuana, I vomited all over the guy’s bong. After that, no one ever offered again. Best strategy ever!

    • #1
    • November 27, 2020, at 9:39 PM PST
    • 10 likes
  2. Dill Coolidge
    Dill

    JosePluma (View Comment):

    Dill: Strategies to say “no” to drugs. I do not believe I have ever been offered drugs. Where are all these people that were supposed to be offering kids drugs all the time?

    The first time I was offered marijuana, I vomited all over the guy’s bong. After that, no one ever offered again. Best strategy ever!

    Nice! I will keep that strategy in mind for whenever I am offered drugs.

    • #2
    • November 27, 2020, at 9:47 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  3. Arahant Member

    In about thirty years, you won’t even be able to remember what you were told would be important when you were in school. (At least I can’t remember any such.) But I do still have my slide rules and know how to use them. (Of course, they were out of date by the time I was in high school, but I don’t care.)

    • #3
    • November 27, 2020, at 9:49 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  4. Randy Webster Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    In about thirty years, you won’t even be able to remember what you were told would be important when you were in school. (At least I can’t remember any such.) But I do still have my slide rules and know how to use them. (Of course, they were out of date by the time I was in high school, but I don’t care.)

    I still have my T-square.

    • #4
    • November 27, 2020, at 10:02 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  5. Arahant Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):
    I still have my T-square.

    I still have a cheap plastic one that is also a foot-long ruler. Comes in handy.

    • #5
    • November 27, 2020, at 10:20 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  6. American Abroad Thatcher
    American AbroadJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I really like this post. Good one, Dill. I won’t defend the MLA style manual because it is cumbersome and ugly, but I did find learning MLA was useful in the transition to the superior Chicago Manual of Style. Overall, high school academics was more about developing thinking skills than specific content. Like you, I can no longer factor quadratic equations, but my guess is that I somehow benefited from learning that in high school even if I can’t do it now. 

    • #6
    • November 27, 2020, at 10:24 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  7. Randy Webster Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):
    I still have my T-square.

    I still have a cheap plastic one that is also a foot-long ruler. Comes in handy.

    Mine’s maybe 36″ long with raised plastic edges so that when you inked drawings, the ink didn’t wick up under the edge. When I took mechanical drawing, we still used those pens with a little nut to set the line width, and dipped them in the ink bottle.

    • #7
    • November 27, 2020, at 10:29 PM PST
    • 6 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  8. Arahant Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):
    Mine’s maybe 36″ long with raised plastic edges so that when you inked drawings, the ink didn’t wick up under the edge. When I took mechanical drawing, we still used those pens with a vernier to set the line width, and dipped them in the ink bottle.

    Yeah, that’s the good one.

    • #8
    • November 27, 2020, at 10:30 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  9. kedavis Member

    It’s actually been some time ago now that I last used it, but I still remember a technique for finding the center of a circle that I used to help my younger brother when he was making a flag for school.

    Just trying to find the center by measuring across and dividing by 2, is imprecise. The way to do it “exactly” is to put two arcs along the edge of the circle, bisect each, and where the bisect lines cross is the center. This can be done with just a straight-edge (no measuring scale needed) and a simple compass (the drawing type, not the north-south-east-west type).

    As seen here: (this drawing was done roughly.)

     

    • #9
    • November 28, 2020, at 1:13 AM PST
    • 12 likes
  10. JoelB Member

    One thing I wish I still had from my college years is my notes from Transportation Science class with professor Richard Rice. He had a chart worked out where he plotted speed, capacity, and fuel usage of different transportation systems from pipelines to supersonic aircraft. He used a logarithmic chart and claimed any system that did not fall within the banana-shaped curves it produced was likely to be uneconomical for practical use. He predicted correctly that the supersonic transport was not economically practical and that pipelines, barges, and various other systems were. His charts were based on the technology of the day, but I suspect they would still hold up now for most things. They were a good way to take a first look at any ballyhooed transportation system that might have been proposed, especially those that were seeking government money. I don’t know if he ever officially published what he gave us in class. I have found bits of it but never the whole thing. I don’t really need it now, but it would be fun to have it available to see how it looks for maglev and other things that the government has spent money on over the years. If anybody on Ricochet has run across this, I would appreciate it if you let me know about it.

    • #10
    • November 28, 2020, at 3:44 AM PST
    • 9 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  11. JoelB Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):
    I still have my T-square.

    I still have a cheap plastic one that is also a foot-long ruler. Comes in handy.

    Mine’s maybe 36″ long with raised plastic edges so that when you inked drawings, the ink didn’t wick up under the edge. When I took mechanical drawing, we still used those pens with a little nut to set the line width, and dipped them in the ink bottle.

    You probably even know how to LeRoy. It’s a vanishing art in the last couple of decades.

    • #11
    • November 28, 2020, at 3:53 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  12. Randy Webster Member

    JoelB (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):
    I still have my T-square.

    I still have a cheap plastic one that is also a foot-long ruler. Comes in handy.

    Mine’s maybe 36″ long with raised plastic edges so that when you inked drawings, the ink didn’t wick up under the edge. When I took mechanical drawing, we still used those pens with a little nut to set the line width, and dipped them in the ink bottle.

    You probably even know how to LeRoy. It’s a vanishing art in the last couple of decades.

    Lol. I might if I knew what it meant. I don’t think I’ve heard the term before.

    • #12
    • November 28, 2020, at 3:56 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  13. Charlotte Member
    CharlotteJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Typing properly (I learned sophomore year on an IBM Selectric!) is the most useful “hard” skill I learned in high school, by far. 

    I’m 46 years old and I have still never been offered drugs of any kind, not even pot. I am a notorious goody-two-shoes, but you would think it would have happened at least once

    • #13
    • November 28, 2020, at 5:06 AM PST
    • 13 likes
  14. John H. Member
    John H.Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    From 12th-grade AP biology, I still remember, and resort to if not precisely “use,” the names of animal phyla. These I have preserved in the mnemonic PPCPNAMAEC, pronounced as written. Protozoa, Porifera, Coelenterata, Platyhelminthes, Nematoda, Annelida, Mollusca, Arthropoda, Echinodermata, Chordata. 

    Works for me!

    There are, I would much later learn, other animal phyla, but I cannot accommodate them, sorry. I told Onychophora: you’re late to the party.

    • #14
    • November 28, 2020, at 6:12 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  15. JoelB Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    JoelB (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):
    I still have my T-square.

    I still have a cheap plastic one that is also a foot-long ruler. Comes in handy.

    Mine’s maybe 36″ long with raised plastic edges so that when you inked drawings, the ink didn’t wick up under the edge. When I took mechanical drawing, we still used those pens with a little nut to set the line width, and dipped them in the ink bottle.

    You probably even know how to LeRoy. It’s a vanishing art in the last couple of decades.

    Lol. I might if I knew what it meant. I don’t think I’ve heard the term before.

    There is a set of pens and stencils made by the LeRoy company for use on technical drawings. They were commonly used by draftsmen early in my career, but since the advent of CADD they have not been used nearly as much. We would have to find one of the older draftsmen to make revisions on our drawings sometimes – guys who could “LeRoy” the revisions onto our officially signed Mylars.

    • #15
    • November 28, 2020, at 6:13 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  16. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeekaJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    In our conservative Christian curriculum: 

    Memorization: 

    –Hundreds of vocabulary words and definitions

    –Important names and terms in bold in social studies, to which we circled back around at different grade levels (e.g., Marx, Engels, Das Kapital, communism, bourgeois, free market, Adam Smith, etc. etc.) 

    –Important names and terms in science (xylem, photosynthesis, Copernicus, etc.)

    Skills: 

    –Expertise in sentence analysis and diagramming

    –Troubleshooting and repairing sentences

    –Process and formatting for writing papers

    Experiences: 

    –Reading literature of different places and times.

    The humanities curriculum and content knowledge has all served me extremely well. The science, to be of even more benefit, could have been richer and included more than reading and taking quizzes. I learned the math well enough at the time, but since it doesn’t come naturally to me, it was difficult to draw upon when I was put on the spot to teach basic math in different contexts. 

    • #16
    • November 28, 2020, at 10:06 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  17. Limestone Cowboy Inactive
    Limestone CowboyJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Typing properly (I learned sophomore year on an IBM Selectric!) is the most useful “hard” skill I learned in high school, by far.

    I’m 46 years old and I have still never been offered drugs of any kind, not even pot. I am a notorious goody-two-shoes, but you would think it would have happened at least once.

    Hey! @charlotte PSSST! I can ship you some great stuff!! Free for first time users. Or just meet me behind the bodega at the usual time…

    (Congrats! You’re all caught up on worldly vices and your participation ribbon is on the way.)

    • #17
    • November 28, 2020, at 11:00 AM PST
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  18. Limestone Cowboy Inactive
    Limestone CowboyJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    In about thirty years, you won’t even be able to remember what you were told would be important when you were in school. (At least I can’t remember any such.) But I do still have my slide rules and know how to use them. (Of course, they were out of date by the time I was in high school, but I don’t care.)

    @arahant

    Do you still have a copy of Clarke’s Tables? Nearly 50 years out of high school, and I refer to it almost daily to look up the dielectric constant of paraffin wax… Not to mention tan(45°). Surely I’m not the only one who needs daily access to such gems?

    And my old Keuffel & Esser stubbornly refuses to retire.

    • #18
    • November 28, 2020, at 11:12 AM PST
    • 5 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  19. Full Size Tabby Member

    Estimating.

    My father (engineering professor) pushed knowing how to estimate in your head what the answer should be by rounding and sometimes simplifying to confirm the answer the computer produces. Since programming errors and mistakes in data entry can cause the computer to produce wildly incorrect answers. I use estimation all the time. I used it just a couple of days ago to question the preliminary charge quoted by a hotel desk clerk when checking in for a long stay.

    • #19
    • November 28, 2020, at 11:21 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  20. kedavis Member

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Estimating.

    My father (engineering professor) pushed knowing how to estimate in your head what the answer should be by rounding and sometimes simplifying to confirm the answer the computer produces. Since programming errors and mistakes in data entry can cause the computer to produce wildly incorrect answers. I use estimation all the time. I used it just a couple of days ago to question the preliminary charge quoted by a hotel desk clerk when checking in for a long stay.

    That’s a good one, it’s pretty much automatic with me but I don’t think I particularly “learned” it so it didn’t come up in my head while thinking about this post.

    One of my high school math classrooms had a paper strip winding all the way around the room, near the ceiling, with Pi on it. But I only remember 3.14159265358979 off the top of my head. That seemed like enough.

    I happen to remember the classifications of stars for some reason, maybe because I read so much sci-fi. (O)h (B)e A (F)ine (G)irl (K)iss (M)e (R)ight (N)ow. (I believe R and N are no longer used.)

    And from leaning electronics, the resistor color codes. (B)ad (B)oys (R)ape [or (R)ob] (O)ur (Y)oung (G)irls (B)ut (V)iolet (G)ives (W)illingly for (Gold) and (Silver).

    • #20
    • November 28, 2020, at 12:13 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  21. Randy Webster Member

    JoelB (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    JoelB (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):
    I still have my T-square.

    I still have a cheap plastic one that is also a foot-long ruler. Comes in handy.

    Mine’s maybe 36″ long with raised plastic edges so that when you inked drawings, the ink didn’t wick up under the edge. When I took mechanical drawing, we still used those pens with a little nut to set the line width, and dipped them in the ink bottle.

    You probably even know how to LeRoy. It’s a vanishing art in the last couple of decades.

    Lol. I might if I knew what it meant. I don’t think I’ve heard the term before.

    There is a set of pens and stencils made by the LeRoy company for use on technical drawings. They were commonly used by draftsmen early in my career, but since the advent of CADD they have not been used nearly as much. We would have to find one of the older draftsmen to make revisions on our drawings sometimes – guys who could “LeRoy” the revisions onto our officially signed Mylars.

    Are they like French curves?

    • #21
    • November 28, 2020, at 12:27 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  22. Randy Webster Member

    Charlotte (View Comment):
    Typing properly (I learned sophomore year on an IBM Selectric!) is the most useful “hard” skill I learned in high school, by far. 

    I learned on a manual typewriter. There was one electric in the room, but you had to be a better typist than I was to get to use it.

    • #22
    • November 28, 2020, at 12:30 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  23. kedavis Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):
    Typing properly (I learned sophomore year on an IBM Selectric!) is the most useful “hard” skill I learned in high school, by far.

    I learned on a manual typewriter. There was one electric in the room, but you had to be a better typist than I was to get to use it.

    Typing was Jr High for me. Manuals for first class, electrics for second. (SIMPLE electrics. No erasing ribbons, etc.)

    • #23
    • November 28, 2020, at 12:32 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  24. Dill Coolidge
    Dill

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):
    I still have my T-square.

    I still have a cheap plastic one that is also a foot-long ruler. Comes in handy.

    I had to google T-square. What math were you guys doing with it?

    • #24
    • November 28, 2020, at 12:45 PM PST
    • 1 like
  25. Randy Webster Member

    Dill (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):
    I still have my T-square.

    I still have a cheap plastic one that is also a foot-long ruler. Comes in handy.

    I had to google T-square. What math were you guys doing with it?

    A T-square is a drafting tool, not a math tool. 

    • #25
    • November 28, 2020, at 12:48 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  26. Arahant Member

    Dill (View Comment):
    I had to google T-square. What math were you guys doing with it?

    They existed back before people could waste computer time on CAD programs.

    • #26
    • November 28, 2020, at 12:51 PM PST
    • 1 like
  27. Dill Coolidge
    Dill

    American Abroad (View Comment):

    I really like this post. Good one, Dill. I won’t defend the MLA style manual because it is cumbersome and ugly, but I did find learning MLA was useful in the transition to the superior Chicago Manual of Style. Overall, high school academics was more about developing thinking skills than specific content. Like you, I can no longer factor quadratic equations, but my guess is that I somehow benefited from learning that in high school even if I can’t do it now.

    Thanks! 

    Yeah, I agree, MLA was useful as a style to learn on. I haven’t used Chicago. I know that MLA is used for humanities, but isn’t Chicago used for….also humanities? What is the difference? 

    Yeah, I don’t think the factoring skills I once had mean nothing. I could probably pick up on it again pretty easily if I needed to, for one thing. But it wasn’t something I used, in math class or otherwise!

    • #27
    • November 28, 2020, at 12:51 PM PST
    • Like
  28. kedavis Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Dill (View Comment):
    I had to google T-square. What math were you guys doing with it?

    They existed back before people could waste computer time on CAD programs.

    You think a T-square for “math” confuses people? Try telling them about the puck used with CAD. They’ll ask you where the nets and goalies are.

    • #28
    • November 28, 2020, at 12:52 PM PST
    • 1 like
  29. Dill Coolidge
    Dill

    kedavis (View Comment):

    It’s actually been some time ago now that I last used it, but I still remember a technique for finding the center of a circle that I used to help my younger brother when he was making a flag for school.

    Just trying to find the center by measuring across and dividing by 2, is imprecise. The way to do it “exactly” is to put two arcs along the edge of the circle, bisect each, and where the bisect lines cross is the center. This can be done with just a straight-edge (no measuring scale needed) and a simple compass (the drawing type, not the north-south-east-west type).

    As seen here: (this drawing was done roughly.)

     

    Cool! I never learned that, although in Geometry we did spend an inordinate amount of time talking about the centers of triangles.

    • #29
    • November 28, 2020, at 12:52 PM PST
    • Like
  30. kedavis Member

    Dill (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    It’s actually been some time ago now that I last used it, but I still remember a technique for finding the center of a circle that I used to help my younger brother when he was making a flag for school.

    Just trying to find the center by measuring across and dividing by 2, is imprecise. The way to do it “exactly” is to put two arcs along the edge of the circle, bisect each, and where the bisect lines cross is the center. This can be done with just a straight-edge (no measuring scale needed) and a simple compass (the drawing type, not the north-south-east-west type).

    As seen here: (this drawing was done roughly.)

     

    Cool! I never learned that, although in Geometry we did spend an inordinate amount of time talking about the centers of triangles.

    I guess it depends on the teachers. I don’t remember ever learning about centers of triangles. So it’s fortunate my brother wasn’t making a flag with triangles.

    • #30
    • November 28, 2020, at 12:54 PM PST
    • Like