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What was the subject you learnt at school that you never had to use in life?

(186 Posts)
Evie64 Thu 15-Aug-19 03:04:38

I spent (after various other jobs) over 20 years working in Primary Care as a manager. Did I ever use what I learnt and studied so hard for in O level exams? e.g. geometry, algebra, biology, physics, chemistry, sin/cosin & tan (whatever the hell they were?), geography, history, RE, cookery etc. I used maths and english mostly, although I love geography and history and english literature, but it had no bearing on my career choice. The cookery came in handy, but what school subjects have we all taken but never used again since we left?

JackyB Thu 15-Aug-19 03:15:18

I can't think of any. I've used all of it at some time. I still love leafing through my old exercise books. I wish we had done more geology than some of the subjects we covered in geography, and I wish we had had a wider syllabus in history with less emphasis on the Tudors and more European history, but otherwise I am happy with what I learnt, particularly in the science subjects and French.

I hated art, but even there, the basics of composition and brush techniques have given me something to help grasp what I'm looking at when in an Art Museum.

stella1949 Thu 15-Aug-19 04:26:40

Still waiting patiently to use the trigonometry that I strained my brain over.

Sealover Thu 15-Aug-19 05:44:02

Logarithm books! Shinning up a rope in the gym, trying to vault over a horse in the gym. Have never needed those skills.

BlueBelle Thu 15-Aug-19 05:46:42

Algebra geometry Latin

Grandma70s Thu 15-Aug-19 06:07:18

Education is for expanding the mind and enriching life. It’s not training in practical things.

I can’t say I’ve used needlework much, or gymnastics or lacrosse, but I use Latin every day, in my awareness of the roots and true meanings of English words. That added awareness applies to most subjects.

Loislovesstewie Thu 15-Aug-19 06:28:30

What were logarithms for? I understand that education is for broadening the mind but honestly it never broadened to that!

PamelaJ1 Thu 15-Aug-19 07:13:52

Mine is maths. Not all of it but most.
I ran a business so I had to do adding up. I’m ok with that especially if it includes £+pence.
The most useful thing I learnt was at junior School was to add up a column- 2oranges at 4d = 8d ect.
I still don’t ‘get’ algebra who cares what a equals?

However I might have needed those skills and I may have had a eureka moment so that I understood what it was all about. Perhaps the struggle had a purpose.

Calendargirl Thu 15-Aug-19 07:21:06

Logarithms certainly. What were they all about? Also think the history we studied wasn’t very interesting, I think in the early 60’s WW2 would have had more relevance.
More emphasis on current affairs, politics and the world around us would have been useful. I look back and think how ignorant I was about so much when I left school, nowadays they learn more about life I think.

BradfordLass72 Thu 15-Aug-19 07:32:10

I didn't have much of an education.
Our school didn't even have an exam structure. Just a simple test at the end of the year, probably to make sure you could write your name.

I was in an A-stream and near the top of most subjects because then as now, I loved learning but suffered from dyscalculia - unheard of in those days.

In fact I was middle aged before I even heard the expression. All that punishment for something I couldn't help.

Not that it mattered very much, our maths lessons never went beyond long division and multiplication - something I still cannot do.

So maths is just about the only thing I haven't used and although I could get round it a bit by drawing pictures (for instance I can recognise the 5 spot of a die as 5) that's really the only way I have even been able to use a calculator.

My parents used to say 'You'll never get anywhere if you can't do maths. ' poor souls.

My Dad didn't live to see what huge successes I achieved without it but Mum did and I think she might have been a bit proud of me.

Marydoll Thu 15-Aug-19 07:33:25

I learned the sine and cosine rules off by heart for my Higher Maths, never used them again!
I jsut couldn't see the point of trigonometry, as I was planning to study languages.
Our trigonometry class was a double period on a Friday afternoon and our male maths teacher was very, very scary, put me off maths for life!!

LullyDully Thu 15-Aug-19 07:47:18

I could manipulate a log table but never knew why. Seems I wasn't alone. I suppose they were trying to see if I had the potential to be a mathematician. Sadly I didn't. Give me a good book any day.

boheminan Thu 15-Aug-19 07:56:59

Sport - especially cross country running. Also country dancing hasn't been too usefulhmm

wildswan16 Thu 15-Aug-19 08:14:04

Definitely logarithms - still don't know what they are. Everything else has probably been useful in one way or another, Latin especially.

I think the Art classes were the least useful. They consisted of painting self portraits and still lifes etc. As I am completely unable to draw anything that resembles anything they were a torture and only taught me to never attempt anything artistic ever again. It would have been so much better if the Art classes had actually taught us about art appreciation etc.

Gagagran Thu 15-Aug-19 08:15:52

Quadratic equations - never could see why I needed to know how to do them and I have never, ever used them since!

Maybelle Thu 15-Aug-19 09:04:29

I have never used logarithm, done or cosine (my DH is the only one I know who did use them at work)
Not have I ever had a need to climb a rope or hang upside down from wall bars !

B9exchange Thu 15-Aug-19 09:19:53

I wish the swimming lessons had worked, our school had its own outside pool and tried for 10 years to teach me to swim, I still cannot manage one stroke.

Useless at mental arithmetic, but once calculators came in I had no problem managing large budgets at work.

Botany, Zoology, Anatomy, Physiology and Hygiene all useful as I became a nurse. English literature I never took to, can't remember much of any of the books on the list, though love reading now. Still a stickler for English grammar! Physics was a problem because of the maths, enjoyed chemistry, but only useful in quiz programmes.

I am not a natural at languages, can just about get by in French. Latin comes in handy for working out the meaning of words I haven't come across before.

Are some university courses of any more use? What do you do with Madonna studies? Or the ubiquitous Media Studies?

RosieLeah Thu 15-Aug-19 09:24:25

Just maths. The basic maths we learned in Juniors have served me well, including learning the times table by heart. I didn't need to learn all the more advanced mathematics.

This is actually a good question because it shows how much we learn in school stays with us. I only did a year of latin and I was hopeless. However, I'm surprised at how much I remember, and even that little bit has proved useful.

PamelaJ1 Thu 15-Aug-19 09:26:26

Seems that apart from basic maths skills there aren’t many mathematicians amongst us.
I think it would have been clear to all my teachers that we were wasting our time!

Blinko Thu 15-Aug-19 09:33:30

For me it was Geometry, including sines, cosines, logarithms, blah, blah, blah. What was that about?? Pointless unless you end up as a civil engineer, I'd have thought.

OTOH I enjoyed algebra although I've never had to use it irl.

Arithmetic and the times tables, which I knew by heart before I was eight, have been invaluable.

Languages too can be so useful later.

Luckygirl Thu 15-Aug-19 09:38:30

Lots of stuff, especially the more quirky maths (sine, cosine, logs - what rubbish is this?!) which would not help me to e.g. order enough paint/material for a given job.

Everything just everything to do with PE which I hated.

Latin, French and German have all come in handy.

What a waste of childhood (precious and a one-off) to be learning all this stuff under pain of rapped knuckles!

jura2 Thu 15-Aug-19 09:40:08

Yes Blinko, just this 'For me it was Geometry, including sines, cosines, logarithms, blah, blah, blah. What was that about?? Pointless unless you end up as a civil engineer, I'd have thought.'

I tried to ask the physics teacher to explain what it was for ... and the reply was 'don't ask questions, just do it- when you become a civil engineer you will know what it is for' - and as I had no intention whatsoever in becoming one - that was it.

For the Baccalauréat at 18, we had to continue all the subjects to the end (unlike the UK where most finish with just 3 very narrow subjects) - so my scientific clever big brother taught me just enough to pass the maths, physics and chemistry exams by the skin of my teeth. And did very well in the rest.

Forgot all about it the minute I got the results - what a waste of energy and time, when I could have learnt another couple of languages instead, that are REALLY useful.

dragonfly46 Thu 15-Aug-19 09:42:18

I have used most of mine, even trig when designing my garden..

I hated history though, then and now!

My dad was a maths teacher years ago and knew the log tables off by heart.

annodomini Thu 15-Aug-19 09:53:14

Art. I have no artistic talent whatsoever so no teacher was ever able to harness it. Three of on DGD are artistic and I can honestly say 'they don't get it from me'.

annodomini Thu 15-Aug-19 09:54:16

MY DGD. Fat finger syndrome at work.