Column: Didn’t learn anything useful? Make a living from college’s true lessons

By Patrick Wade

So after six years, 42 final exams and roughly 1,800 Red Bulls, you finally have that hard-earned bachelor’s degree from one of the nation’s top universities.

Big whoop.

Let’s be honest. You lost track of how many times you hit the snooze button and missed your early classes.

You spent countless hours trying to beat “Free Bird” on expert when you should have been studying for that midterm. By the time the game assured that you do, in fact, rock, Guitar Hero III was already out – and now you can’t beat Slash.

You know more about the “Evolution of Dance” than you know about Darwin’s “The Origin of Species.”

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You graduated, but barely. And now you’re not sure how to find a job, let alone how to do it.

So what happens when the real world rips that fancy piece of paper you call an education to shreds?

Fortunately, there are a myriad of careers out there you can fall back on when that degree falls through. Feel free to let your mind wander – like it did in that anthropology lecture – while I take you through what the rest of your life could look like with the things you actually did learn in college.

Sleep coach

This is one of the few things you know how to do well, so why not spread the wealth? Just make sure you tell your clients that the easiest time to fall asleep is when you have something really important to do. Term paper due tomorrow? Great opportunity to sleep it off.

And come on now, you’ve slept everywhere – during class, on the floor at some random party and even in the Undergraduate Library (that one time you went).

Personal shopper

You just spent your entire college life spending someone else’s money – thanks, Mom and Dad.

Put your shopping savvy to practical use and help some poor soul suit up.

For those five minutes you were awake at the beginning of lecture, you sat there silently judging everyone’s outward appearance anyway.

You can only hope that professor in the horrible plaid suit coat and green suede shoes comes in to accept your wardrobe renovation.

Furniture tester

Really. Thanks to the U.S. Department of Labor, furniture testing is considered a full-time job, and it’s waiting for you to take a seat. With the amount of time you’ve spent on the couch or in bed, you’ve probably become a connoisseur by now. So sit back and relax, because you’ve just discovered the most comfortable career you could imagine.


Journalists listen to people and write down what they say. It’s practically legalized plagiarism – not that you’ve ever done that. Occasionally someone might ask you to write a column about what to do if your degree falls through. But trust me, you can pound that out just before your deadline, especially because you’re a procrastination expert. The only drawback is that you might have to take some notes, a concept you’re probably not familiar with.

See, there’s more hope than your GPA leads you to believe. But don’t let this list hamper you. Zero in on what you’re good at.

Really, the most important thing is that you pick a career best suited for you. Book knowledge is one thing, but it’s the practical lessons you learned that will carry you to retirement.