The Classes You Should Take in College

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I made a joke about the classes we all wish college offered –  Personal Finance 101, How to Not Burn Down Your House Cooking, Intro to Not Spending All Your Money on Clothes (okay, just me?) – but what about those classes your school does offer? Which of those should you take?

In case you’re new around here, I have a pretty good gig in social media at a large retailer. I honestly fell into social media – classes in social/digital marketing didn’t exist when I was in college (way back in 2011). Instagram was relatively new and no one was on it. I have two degrees – one in fashion design and merchandising and one in marketing. So I’m basically in the industry and field that I went to school for.

I find that a lot of the classes I thought I would never need – Business Law, Computer Science – I should have really paid better attention in. A lot of people ask me how I got my job and what advice I have for others who want to get into fashion, marketing or social/digital media, so here it is. I think this is also great for people who want to make blogging a career, because some of these classes I wish I had taken and didn’t… they would really have helped me out!

The Classes You Should Take in College

mac book pro the classes you should take in college | almost getting it together

It’s hard to find relevant photos about college that are also appropriate.

Business Law
If you want to start working with brands, you should have a contract if payment is involved. It protects both of you so you get exactly what you want from it and vice versa. Business Law teaches you things like this. You also learn about copyright and trademarks and all of those things that you don’t ever think about. Also there is a ton of crazy stuff going on with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) and bloggers so that is also a hot-ticket item right now.

Business Management
I had THE WORST business management professor. He was such. a. dick. Sorry to be so blunt, but it’s seldom to find a human being who is that full of himself. I hated that class so therefore, I paid exactly 0 attention, spent all class playing Angry Birds and probably just signed in and left if I even bothered going (I was never into going to class, even in high school I skipped a ton of school).

Anyway, so he thought he was great because he ran a marathon and was a doctor (oh yeah, all of my friends have run marathons and also now some of my friends are doctors, cool story, bro) and I thought I would never need Business Management because only people who had a sad, sad life being a manager at the mall ahead of them needed that class. HAH I WAS WRONG. I wish I knew what happened in this class but mainly I also wish I knew about management. So kids, take this class and just get a different professor if you get that guy.

Intro to Photoshop
Is Intro to Photoshop a thing? If your school offers any entry-level Adobe Creative Suite courses, TAKE THEM. That was my biggest regret of all of college, even including a lot of dumb shit I did (see: getting into a strange van in Panama City with my friends one night, eating drunk pizza, kissing boys I shouldn’t kiss). It’s such a marketable skill for basically everything.

Computer Science 101
One of my first assignments when I started my job was to make a calendar on Excel. Let’s just say I spent a lot of time Googling how to do really basic shit in Excel. I can do things now (i.e. format cells) but I wish I had paid better attention so I could do V-Lookups or whatever. I don’t know what I would use them for, but you never know.

Intro to Coding
Is this a real class? It has to be. If I could have forced myself to have an interest in anything in the world, it would be to be a developer because I would be rich. I know the culture for girls in that world is rough (workplace culture for girls is a whole other topic/book for another day), but if I knew some simple CSS I could fix some minor issues on my blog and not be paying someone else to do it for me.

Marketing Research
This was one of the hardest classes I took in college but I know a lot about stats from it and a lot about data which helps me out when I’m doing basic analytics, hindsights, or trying to figure out why a project isn’t working and how I can get data to figure out how to fix it.

Study Abroad
This isn’t a class but just do it and don’t go somewhere dumb. CHALLENGE YOURSELF. That’s the point.

Vines to Wines
I had to throw this in there. West Virginia University started out as a land grant school so it focused on agriculture, fishery, etc. Winemaking = agriculture = let’s learn about wine! I personally think it’s a super important skill to have when you’re out with your friends, at a business dinner, or let’s face it – a date. Not all of us are lucky enough to have a significant other that knows a thing about wine (luckily mine does) so it’s important to enlighten them.

Chat with me:
Did you take any of these classes in college? What classes did you wish you took? What was your worst class/professor ever?

27 comments on “The Classes You Should Take in College

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Erin @ The Almond Eater on August 20, 2014 8:10 am

I loooove this chicka. I took Business Law and Business Management and loved both of them (surprisingly) but avoided any class involving Photoshop at all cost. LOLLLLL why???? If I could go back in time I would have learned it in college so I wouldn’t have to now.
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Hilary on August 20, 2014 8:12 am

I wish I could go back and take Photography! I am currently a new graduate and trying to enter into a social media job! So far no luck, do you have any advice on companies or types of jobs? I would really appreciate your opinion !
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Amanda @ .running with spoons. on August 20, 2014 9:54 am

I honestly wish I took business in college… As it stands, I went into psych and didn’t even take a single business course, so learning to navigate the realm of being self employed and running a blog has definitely been a huge learning experience. Just one of the many things I’d go back and tell my younger self :roll:
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Jessica on August 20, 2014 10:17 am

Yep. I’m a Higher Ed Consultant and work full-time with aspiring and current college and grad students. Your recommendations are spot-on for someone looking to go into business and/or marketing.

My advice for students is to pick the classes (and ultimately major) you want – not what your dad wants or what some online study says is the top 10 paying. Cause at the end of the day, YOU are the one sitting in the classes, taking the tests, doing the homework, reading the books, and dealing with the professors. Better make sure you like it.
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Susie @ SuzLyfe on August 20, 2014 10:41 am

So true so true. I think that everyone should also have to take an Intro to Health and Wellness for adults (with everything from sex ed to bmi to macros and with intros to weights and the benefits of exercise). So many people have so much education on these subjects, and so many people don’t. I wish I had taken a finance course in college (vs in jr high/high school). God that would have been amazing.
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Christine on August 20, 2014 10:44 am

These are great choices!! I’m currently completing my first marketing/social media internship and paying attention in computer science could have helped me IMMENSELY!! I was a freshman with computer science at 8 a.m. Monday morning, can’t tell you how many times I chose to sleep instead. haha. I wish my school offered an Intro to Photoshop course but I’m excited to be taking our new ‘Social Media’ class!
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Ang @ Nutty for Life on August 20, 2014 10:55 am

I actually took two semesters of adobe design classes. So I’m obviously not a pro, but I know enough to do the basics. That’s how I design my resume and I was able to design my blog header by myself, too. It’s not the most spectacular thing but you know what I’m proud of those damn peanuts I illustrated. lol.
If I knew better back four years ago, I would have gone into marketing instead of journalism. But alas. Here we are.
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Caitlin on August 20, 2014 10:59 am

I took none of these classes haha and can’t help but think that I should have taken a few. As a psych and then an education major, I was never required to go anywhere near business or computers, so I didn’t. And now that will probably come back to bite me in the butt (or not I hope…but they definitely would have been useful). My favorite classes were those dealing with psych or children’s literature/literature in general. I always found them the most interesting and had the best profs for.
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Amber on August 20, 2014 11:05 am

I didn’t take ANY of those classes, but i WISH I did have some business classes/computer classes under my belt, because one day, I’d LOVE to make money off of my blog/turn my passion into a business, except these are pipe dreams since I have NO knowledge or experience on how to do so…. :)
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Bethany @ Accidental Intentions on August 20, 2014 11:27 am

I went to a liberal arts school, and if I could go back and do it again, I’d force myself to not BS my way through my math/science gen eds. I was an English major, so I got away with taking the ridiculous general education math/science courses (my math class, for example, was essentially remedial algebra. We began the class learning how to solve a function. I wish I were kidding. My science class was the History of Science, where we…sat in a classroom and talked about historical science experiments and called it “science.” Yeah. Not science.). If those hadn’t been available to me, I would’ve had to take real science classes–like, possibly, computer science–that I think would’ve done a lot more for me than my useless gen eds. Although, let’s be real: as an English major, most of my classes were pretty useless as far as real world application goes :P
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GiGi Eats on August 20, 2014 12:47 pm

SOMEOF THE CLASSES I TOOK IN COLLEGE – yeah, they do not really benefit me AT ALL but they were so interesting!!! History of Mayan, Inca, Olmec & Aztec Civilizations, Ancient Africa, Anthropology… LOVE THESE CLASSES even though they have nothing to do with what I do now! lol. I WISH I took a photoshop class!
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Tina Muir on August 20, 2014 1:12 pm

I took my whole degree abroad….and I am still here….does that count as study abroad? haha! I took business management, and yes, I would say it was very helpful. I also did a class in financial management, as annoying as it was, it was definitely life skills I need going forward.
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Sam @ Better With Sprinkles on August 20, 2014 1:12 pm

I didn’t take a single business course in school, which in hindsight wasn’t the best decision. I basically avoided anything that wasn’t in the social science field (or classical studies – I took a Greek mythology course and a class on Alexander the Great my last year of my undergrad. Fun and interesting, but not exactly real-world applicable). Even my one required science class I took ‘history of medicine’, so we learned about how way back in the day people thought that illness was basically caused by spirits. Again, not too applicable…
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Nicole @ Foodie Loves Fitness on August 20, 2014 3:57 pm

This post is so true! I wish I took ONE SINGLE accounting class in college haha but I did manage to study abroad (which was amazing!) and I actually just took a Photoshop class for work, so I suppose I’ve done some of these things! Funny you mention viticulture — this wasn’t offered at my school, but I would have absolutely loved to take classes about winemaking. I’m into wine and think it would have been a lot of fun!
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Kelli @Hungry Hobby on August 20, 2014 4:44 pm

I took Business Law… not helping much BUT photoshop 101 and food styling would have been awesome!
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Farrah on August 20, 2014 5:07 pm

I haven’t taken any of those classes (not sure how many of those were offered at my school because I was studying two completely different fields :P ), but as my school was also an agricultural school, there was a course on winemaking as well! And brewing beer. I just never took em’ because I had no time and don’t actually consume alcohol. Word on the street was that the winemaking class was actually pretty difficult, because they went into the chemistry and got pretty detailed about it.

My worst professor taught an Asian American Studies class, and since I’d already taken the 1st + 3rd of the series, I figured I might as well take the 2nd one too. He was the most disrespectful and insulting person I’d ever come across in all the courses I’d ever taken (I took over 100 classes in undergrad, so this is saying a lot :x ). At the first class meeting, he spent an hour ranting about how all Asian guys were either skaters or gamers, and how Asian girls were all frat mattresses. I left during the break and dropped the class. :/
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ganeeban on August 20, 2014 6:07 pm

Half of the ones you listed were required for my Business – Marketing degree too! I wish I would have taken intro to Photoshop. I didn’t venture outside of my curriculum until my last quarter of college, but I wish I would have done it sooner. I took an event management course that was really fun, but also helpful for my actual career too! If I could re-do my experience, adding study abroad would be the only thing I would change. I enjoyed being a transfer student and my experience, but I should have traveled! xoxo, ganeeban
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Kaylin @ Enticing Healthy Eating on August 20, 2014 7:21 pm

This is a really great list. I DEFINITELY agree with some sort of financial planning 101 class I believe everyone should have to take in college. Like how to mortgage a home?…Where did we learn this?! I would have taken photoshop at my college if they’d offer it, but I don’t believe they do. I think everyone (females especially) should take the Self-Defense class. It would be valuable for any situation you had an attacker or were put into a situation you had to defend yourself or others.
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Matt @ Runner Savvy on August 20, 2014 8:10 pm

I took most of these! Didn’t study abroad though.
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Arman @ thebigmansworld on August 22, 2014 5:57 am

Urgh, I took a few of those business classes but paid no attention= great list though! And YES to studying abroad- That is something I recommend to ANYONE!
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Davida @ The Healthy Maven on August 23, 2014 9:00 pm

Soooo I wish I head read this before college….I took none of these and these were all of the classes I should have taken. Apparently sex ethics and pop music after 1945 weren’t particularly helpful in helping my future career. Then again food blogging 101 wasn’t being offered sooooo….well actually I spent 99% of my time on foodgawker so I basically majored in that. Thank god my education was cheap otherwise my parents would not be down with me becoming a food blogger lol
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