When Will I Need This? Lessons You Can Still Take From Dull Assignments

Suppose you’re sitting in history class learning about Chinese dynastic system. Like some students, you may ask yourself: “When am I ever going to need this?” After all, you want to be a chemist. It’s a valid question. When will you need the dearth of information you absorb in school every day?

The truth is, maybe never.

It all depends on what you do later in life. But there are still plenty of useful skills you can take from any class.

First, writing. After this class, you may never have to color in a map of China for as long as you live. But you will always have to write. Knowing how to convey thoughts and ideas through writing is something you’ll need for any job. If writing isn’t your thing today, don’t worry. There are many methods to write that are not taught in school. My preferred way to write by first thinking out loud. You may use a flowchart to organize your ideas, or even write backwards starting with your conclusion and working your way up to the introduction.

It is important to show that you are making strides toward understanding and mastering writing while you are in school. The good news is, it can always be easier.

The best part about writing and critical thinking is that they go hand-in-hand. When you get to college, all of your essays will have to contain a lot of both. Just relax. You don’t have to master these in high school. Most universities have a required course on writing and persuasion. Get a jump on mastering these skills by asking your teacher or tutor to guide you through a reading you’re struggling with. Most adults have been where you are today and will be able to offer new tactics and ways to reach your goal with ease.

Another skill your daily lessons teach involves critical thinking. Critical thinking’s really just a fancy way of saying “to think.” Whether that be logically or creatively is up to you. But the point is that you understand different perspectives and learn to solve a problem with only some pieces of a logistical puzzle.

For example: before a business meeting, you hope to convince another company to buy your product. You should first prepare some reasons that they need you. This involves thinking outside the box and putting yourself in their situation. What kind of questions would they ask? What arguments would they raise? How can you improve their company with your product?

With a little creative critical thinking, you then show them how much more efficiently they could run their business if they just buy what you are selling.


When you’re in school, stay focused and do the work. It sounds cliché, but excellence comes with practice. So while the rest of your classmates are complaining about the pointlessness of this assignment, you can be confident that even though you may never be a historian or novelist, you are still learning something valuable.


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