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Small, liberal arts schools boast about the broad range of topics that students are required to study before graduation. No liberal arts student is allowed to graduate without first taking courses with names like “Agricultural Trends: Pre-Civil War” and “The Global Haiku.” On the other hand, larger schools can brag about the awesome selection of electives that students can take. At UCLA, students can enroll in the “History of Electronic Dance Music,” and Trekkies at Georgetown University can get profound in “Philosophy and Star Trek.” However, not a lot of colleges teach courses that address those miscellaneous, unexpected post-graduate struggles. As a college senior, I personally have no idea what my life will entail in nine months from now, but why can’t colleges help students envision those things? Here are a few courses that I would have preferred to take over “History of Indiana Flowers”:
- Getting a Real-People Car 101: You can’t drive around that dented, tired 90s car for much longer. Not only will it be embarrassing to roll up to your first day at work in your clunker, but it probably won’t be able to handle the commute for long. However, when it comes to actually getting some new wheels, things can get complicated. Should a new grad buy a car? Is renting a better option? How much is too much when it comes to car payments? These are all questions that could easily be advised through a few class lectures.
- Appropriate Gift Giving 220: There’s always that one friend or relative that is totally oblivious to the art/tact of gift giving. This one individual will, without a doubt, give you a gift that is either thoughtless, tasteless or, even worse, unreturnable. This course would teach you how to NOT be that person. Through the use of case studies and group presentations, students would learn the key skills needed to keep their gifts out of the “Return” pile.
- Personal Finance Overview 450 (AKA “What to Do When Your Parents Cut You Off”): While most college students make rent and utility payments, there are many more expenses that come with entering the real world: mortgages, car loans, taxes, credit cards – you get the picture. Even though students generally anticipate these expenses, we struggle with anticipating the actual scale of these expenses. Personal Finance Overview would teach students about these money lessons, as well as the basics of starting your own business and financial mistakes to avoid.
- Driving Tendencies of Various Regions 303: Something tells me that rush hour in Buford, Wyoming (the smallest town in America – population: 1) is slightly different than rush hour in New York and Chicago. Students need to be prepared to drive in any atmosphere, because we’re desperate for jobs and are willing to go anywhere. Also, let’s be honest. Everyone hates the driver who obviously doesn’t know the typical driving route and clogs up the one left-turn lane. And who knows – this course might even include a few field trips.
- How to Make Friends After College 500: And you thought the friend-making woes ended in grade school. I’ve heard from several grads that it’s very difficult to make friends after graduation, so it’s got to be a legitimate worry. How soon is too soon to add someone as a Facebook friend? Where do you go to meet new people? A course addressing these issues, as well as providing remedies for FAS (frequently awkward situations), would give students an advantage in the strange world of post-graduate friend making.