Columbia has this thing called "the core." That's where you take all kinds of classes that are supposed to make you well rounded, but really they just bring your average down and make you forget the stuff you're interested in. I once took classes in all different subjects for four years to be well rounded. That was called "high school."

I try to take classes that overlap. I once signed up for "Post-Civil War America," "America since World War II," and "America in the 50s" in one semester. That way, I could neglect my readings for several classes at once.

Why is it that some schools have the coolest majors? I know people who are majoring in really specific things like "radio journalism" and "constructing foreign policy" but I'm stuck with "history" or "english." I want to be a sports writer, and the only thing that came close was American History. And I can't even take just the good classes in that department – they force me to take classes "outside my concentration." Cause if I didn't, one day I'd write a column for my local sports section, and my glaring lack of East African history would become obvious to all the readers.

Sometimes, teachers get personally offended if you don't know the material they assigned. But even weirder is when they expect you to know random stuff from classes you've never taken. I had a history professor who would always reference the most advanced stuff that we never learned in class, and act like it was common knowledge. What he forgot was that he devoted his entire life to learning about the Louisiana Purchase, and the closest we've ever come to it outside of his class is that one Spring Break at Mardi Gras.

All my teachers say stuff like "you need to know this so you can impress people at cocktail parties." Maybe there should be one core class called "boring crap you need to know for cocktail parties." Two weeks of music theory, a month of art history, one class on bio, one on anthropology, and one on how to shop and trade stocks online. The final should be discussing wines and laughing pretentiously. If I'm ever at a party where I'm asked to know math, physics, or explain the concept of a macro policy model, I'm leaving.

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