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What’s One Thing You Wish You Had Learned in School?

How did your "creative education" fall short in school? We asked thousands of Twitter followers, Facebook fans and readers to share their answers.

At 99U, we’re dedicated to providing the action-oriented education that you didn’t get in school. To make sure we’re on the right track, we hit up our Twitter and Facebook followers to ask: “What’s the one thing you wished you’d learned in school?”We received hundreds of responses which we culled into the shortlist below, but we want to hear from everyone. Please share your thoughts what you missed out on in school with an @ reply on Twitter or in the comments below.

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Work/life balance:

Personal finance and student loans:


A big thank you to everyone that offered their take. So, dear reader, what do you wish you had learned in school? Leave a comment below or @ reply us on Twitter and don’t forget to be as detailed as possible, you just may inspire the next article on 99U.
Comments (19)
  • Nicene

    I wish I could have studied abroad, an enriching World experience can’t be beat.

  • Joe Nicklo

    I went to the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale — wish the instructors were more brutal with their critiques. So as long as you turned your projects in on time and met the requirements given, everyone got A’s or B’s regardless of the quality of work.

    I was in the Graphic Design program so in terms of technical…I wish we had a required course on a 3D Program and that they delved much deeper into fundamentals like Grid.

    On a positive note, I felt that the Layout, Concept Development, Color Theory, Corporate Identity and Typography classes were rock solid.

  • Marc Inzon

    I wish the technology they thought us were more in line of the current technologies being used in the real world… I mean, who uses VB, really?

  • Srinivas Rao

    I wish were taught to take risks and not worry about the results. I think a flavor of personal development should have been infused with our field of study.

  • Jordan

    I wish I had more classes where they said “here’s the problem. Solve it” and have the students find their own ways of getting the answer.

  • Matthew Butler

    I wish I would have learned more about design and typography instead of how to use a piece software.

  • Sri Chandana

    I wish they taught me to be a human being first and then taught me my subjects. I wish I learnt life at school rather than science, maths. I wish they taught me how life is simple and how what we are made to learn over the years just complicates it. I wish they taught me that solving problems in life is similar to those in math. And science is not just in the textbook but all around you. I wish they taught at the end life is all about living and letting live happily 🙂

  • Samuel

    I wish someone told me that learning skills and getting real-world experience is infinitely more valuable than good grades. The world is looking for problem-solvers who help them push forward, not people who can regurgitate answers on a test.

  • James Christian Erickson

    Well, it depends on what part of education that you speak of: elementary, high school, college, or all of the above? Because each had its own set of failures and triumphs for everyone, especially in the realm of creativity. In most cases, education in my experience, even when taking art classes and minoring in music; do not teach you to be creative or even how to be creative. Rather, they haphazardly muddle through explaining the results and mechanics of other’s creativity, and dwell very little on actually being a great creative in its own right. To paraphrase Arnold Schoenberg: being a creative person has little to do with the harmony, symmetry, balance, dynamic, tone, and form of the piece; those are all important functions of a intelligible piece, but they themselves do not create the beauty, nor a creative piece do they make. This is one of the biggest lessons I learned and continue to learn, and wished I had learned earlier.

  • Anushka

    I wish I learned that being different was okay and it was a good thing.

  • Beau

    I wish we learned that regardless of the color of our skin, our weight, how much our parents made, WE ARE ALL IMPORTANT.

  • Chris Cruz

    Personal finances. It’s assumed once you graduate college, you’ll have a good job, good salary and everything will take care of itself. Unfortunately many employed people with good jobs go broke due to lack of financial knowledge. Luckily I have parents who are very smart with their own finances and lend me their advice. I wish school would’ve taught me what a good interest rate is, the pros and cons of loans/credit, investing in your 401k.

    So many people are scammed because of lack of financial knowledge. Actually college kids were a huge target when I was in college. Credit Card companies would offer cheesy T shirts and whole pizzas to kids for signing up for Credit Cards saying “oh you don’t have to use it! it’s totally free!!”

  • Niiobli Armah

    The power of asking questions, I wish we were taught to constantly challenge the status quo by asking questions…

  • Michael Bianchi

    I wish schools emphasized developing creativity through application. I was required to draw a couple things in school but never to really be innovative. I think innovation is one of the most important things in the world today and furthermore, I refuse to believe that people can’t develop their creativity (a friend told me creativity was a trait one was born with, but I see everyday how I am learning to be more innovative with everything I do).

    Secondly, as slightly similar to my first point, I wish we learned to apply our knowledge/ the course teachings in something that is relevant to us (Clarification: ‘if the water is coming out of the tank at 25 gallons/min, how fast is the water in the 20x20x20 meter tank going down’ is not application). The things I valued most during school was analyzing some social problem and looking for solutions in my social studies class, or building working models in my physics class. While I am interested in Economics (I am actually an Economics major at a private liberal arts college), I still have not done anything I think is particularly useful. We’ve studied theory after theory, and rarely ever applying it.

  • Leo

    Wish i learned to empower myself and also utimately challenge myself to the limit

  • MSQ

    I wish I was taught how to study properly.

  • Rajat

    I wish we were taught how to go about learning ? Learning the learning process itself.

  • Mikidonis

    I whish I would have been taught how to to sell ideas, how to animate meetings, captivate the audition and get the most of the participants, how to position myself as someone worth to be listened.
    I wish I would have been incited in developping my creativity instead of learning courses by heart, in following activities outside the school.

  • Philip Illum Thonbo

    Innovation and creative thinking and creative problem solving

  • Up Above

    Thinking out of the box and how to go past the motions of not knowing what to do with a project, what key things are beneficial for accomplishing a task, like being given a project and immediately knowing what materials/resources are required and what things to put. I learned this the hard way. And being able to impart this to my brothers seem to make it easy for them. its like skipping a step, but for the pursuit of efficiency.

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