Obviously, it’s not essential that you specifically use your degree. For me, there’s a sense of satisfaction that comes with applying what I learned in a class room setting to a real world sense. My internship this summer, as well as my daily life as a fashion major, has allowed me to do just that.
Here are examples of 7 classes I apply knowledge from daily:
Textiles: While I Ioathed the class, I did learn a thing or two. One day at JCP a customer was telling me that there was a sign that said polo shirts were on sale. I politely asked her to take me to where she found it. At the table, there was a sign that read “Double knit polos $7.00,” but the polo in her hand was clearly not a double knit; it was a pique knit. While one associate might of just given her the price instead, I was able to save JCP money by selling it at the price they intended for it to be sold at, while explaining to her the difference. Sure, she may not have been happy, but she did realize I was right. In this case, knowledge really is power.
Ideas of Mathematics: I took this class my freshman year and thought it was a joke. We learned things like the different ways to count ballots and how to fairly divide something into one large thing of different segments (ie a group of teachers amongst five different grade levels of different sizes). The weirdest thing to me at the time was when we studied bar codes. Yep. Those black and white lines with number actually mean something. While I knew they described the product because of my previous retail experience, I didn’t know how in depth they were. This has helped me a lot, especially in a department store setting with quite a few lot numbers and skus.
Apparel Analysis: In this class we had a final project that consisted of examining two similar products of the same style. I did a Wal-Mart polo versus a Ralph Lauren Polo. The RL polo was better quality, so it was worth the money. The most interesting project to me was a guy who compared True Religion jeans to Wranglers. He said the Wranglers were the better buy when comparing price with value and whereability. Knowing how to examine a garment not only helps me shop better, but it also helps me explain to a customer what value they’re getting. For example, a lady returned a top because it had rhinestones and pearls sewn on it. When she put it in the washing machine, the pearls came off. She was complaining that it was supposed to machine washable *blah blah blah* I stopped listening, because I knew just by looking at it, it wasn’t. I immediantly looked at the tag on the inside and showed her where it said hand wash only. We still took it back, but she was kind of embarrassed for making a such a scene. It was in my Apparel Analysis class that I learned how important it was to read clothing tags.
Apparel Production: I already knew how to sew when I entered Baylor, but I took a class anyway. While it did bug me at times becuase of certain ways I had to do things, it did teach me better ways to accomplish tasks. Since I sew for other people (see my site here), anything that helps me get work done faster is very beneficial. Also, I can usually tell how garments are made when I see them. This information can be very informtional to a retail customer.
Accounting: Clearly the problem with America (besides obesity and lost souls) is that most don’t understand accounting and they overspend. This class should be a necessity for all, so they can learn how to make a budget and income/expense statemet. It is probably the most real world class a person can take in any major and I use it on a daily basis- at work or not. (Not to mention I live with an accounting major and it is her
Apparel Financial Control: This is essential for any fashion major to take, as it is basically accounting on steriods, in a retail sense. You learn everthing from gross margin percentage to markup. Though it was a fast paced class, it was one of my favorites. This helps not only corporate buying positions, but “in-store jobs” as well. The more you understand, the more you can teach and create a better overall company.
Finance: As much as it kills me to say this, finance is actually very applicable. I barely made it through the class with a C (and lots of tears), theories behind it are still with me. If more people understood things like term insurance vs whole life insurance, they’d be better off. Learning the best way to finance something is key for twenty somethings like me who are starting out on their own.
I was fortunate enought to go into school with a clear vision that fashion merchandising was what I was supposed to do. Since then, God has blessed me with many things that confirmed that I was where I was supposed to be. With one semester worth of classes left, I’m sure this fall I’ll learn more things that will help me when I graduate and lead me to a career that I’ll love. (and put to use that Baylor tuition money my parents have forked over).