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5 Domains I Wished Were Taught in College

By December 10, 2022No Comments

After having 10 years of space from my college graduation, and knowing what I know now, I’ve been reflecting on what holes I had to fill with “internet college” because my undergraduate experience didn’t meet those needs.

Let me be clear, I am responsible for filling in the voids, I’m not playing the victim here. But there seems to be a gap between what young adults are taught in University and what would best serve them post-graduation – and I, amongst many other young adults, could have greatly benefitted from a college curriculum that was designed to teach us how to solve modern-day problems.

I felt deeply deficient in several core areas of my life such that I had to go on a self-education campaign in order to fill them – one that nearly took 8 years. Upon graduation I felt like I had zero job-relevant skills, that my degree was a commodity, I was behind in the dating game, and had no idea how to cook or what healthy food looked like, or how to build positive habits. 

Knowing what I know now (and if I had a magic wand) I would have made the following subjects mandatory for my college experience.

#1 – Nutrition

The Food Pyramid is toxic – full stop. The Standard American Diet leads to obesity and disease. SAD is riddled with seed oils, processed foods, and nutrient-deficient foods. I had to find this out on my own by reading books like Deep Nutrition and listening to podcasts like The Meat Mafia Podcast. On top of the education process, I had to use therapeutic modalities like Somatic Experiencing to undo the anxiety that was causing me to use food as a coping mechanism.

If I would have known what I know now, at age 18 it would have led to more energy, a better physique, a better dating life, and a better mood for the past decade. 

I had four years to learn this information, develop cooking skills, and create a better relationship with nutrition but I spent exactly zero hours doing so.

#2 – How to Build Positive Habits

Imagine if James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, was one of your college professors. Imagine the positive downstream effects if you were able to integrate the wisdom of that book in your late teens or early twenties.

It would lead to a longer life, and less suffering, and you would achieve your goals quicker. 

It would bleed into every facet of your life: your ability to study, your ability to perform better work, your ability to maintain your health, and your ability to hit your goals.

Habits rule everything – and in college, you have nearly half a decade to learn the skill set of developing positive ones and shedding the ones that don’t serve you. Can’t think of a higher leverage subject to learn while you are young than building habits.

#3 – In-demand Job Skills

I can’t imagine where I would be in my career if I spent my four years in undergrad learning in-demand job skills like design, software engineering, data science, and SEO. What if there was a direct line to the highest-performing companies, that in real-time, communicated what skills were most desirable to them, and then you developed those all throughout your time as a student?

Not learn subjects, majors, or concepts from professors that are disconnected from the job market, but specific skills direct from the guidance of hiring managers and your potential employers. I’m not saying you have to do away with the studies of ethics, classic literature, and other benefits of traditional college. But I am advocating for making relevant skill development to be a core focus.

Imagine the leg up you would have to enter the workforce, the career opportunities, the network you could build as a result, and the additional lifetime income you could pull in.

In my opinion, college degrees have been commodified. They don’t make you stand out anymore. Furthermore, skills are what produce results, not degrees. Your credentials and/or diploma are supposed to be honest signals of the skills and knowledge you retained, but what if the main focus was skill cultivation?

#4 – Online Writing

Writing papers behind closed doors is a waste. Simply publishing your writing, getting feedback from the crowd, and learning how to build audiences online could 10x your progress. What if you minored in evolutionary psychology (with a focus on mating) and majored in data science in hopes of becoming hired by Bumble or eHarmony? Wouldn’t it benefit both parties, both the student and future employer to have the ability to write and read articles on both those topics?

Writing is a meta-skill because writing is thinking. Writing is also omnipresent in most jobs today. Even if you’re a designer you write Slack messages to convey decision-making to your manager. You write summaries in the documentation and you write copy on PowerPoint presentations. 

It bleeds into several facets of your life and yet in a traditional college, you typically don’t put that writing out into the world. The only shift you would need to make is to whip up a personal website and hit publish.

Furthermore, college writing in its current iteration isn’t taught for the 21st century. I’ve learned more from David Perell’s Write of Passage than from every single High School and College writing class combined – and that course was only 5 weeks long.

#5 – Dating

I was a dingus in this department for many years. I had to spend multiple years self-educating in this domain in order to reach my goals. I know I wasn’t alone on my college campus either. Most drunk 18-year-old (I was one) look to the drunk 21-year-olds who are still five years away from a fully developed brain for cues on how to attract women, what could go wrong?

What if, instead of learning from your emotionally immature peers on campus, you learned how to ethically and actionably date from the actual experts? I’m not talking about the advice your parents, aunts, and priests give you. I’m talking about learning from authors and professors like Dr. Geoffrey Miller and Dr. David Buss who have been studying human attraction from the lens of evolutionary psychology for decades. 

I had to listen to the Mating Grounds podcast 5 times over and reread several times What Women Want in order to integrate this knowledge.

Wouldn’t it have been much easier and wouldn’t the world be a much better place, for both sexes, if young men learned how to do it right before entering the workforce? Seems like low-hanging fruit if you ask me – and a win-win situation.

The current college system was created in the 1920s by a man named Charles Elliot from Harvard. Has there been some innovation and technology added to the process? Yes, of course. And has the material and subjects taught changed since the 1920s? Yes of course, but its structure and general courses feel like it’s for the 20th century and not this one.

What if the standard college curriculum was created in the 21st century for the 21st century? 

Our food system is poisonous, our dating dynamics are in rapid decline, statistics say that it’s more likely we will have a lower quality of life than our parents, and most of us aren’t leveraging the full extent of the internet.

Does the modern college curriculum address most of these issues? Of course not. The standard University has its place, and many young adults get value from it, but what about the population that doesn’t? I clearly was one of them.