What's a short-term training that's been helpful or reassuring to have?
August 25, 2019 1:04 PM   Subscribe

What are some unusual but practical kinds of training that might not occur to the average millennial/Gen X-er?

I'm looking for examples along the following lines, preferably short-term and no more than a few thousand dollars at most:

- Defensive driving training/driving safety refresher
- CPR training
- Wilderness safety training

What's been helpful, helped reduce risks or costs, just been reassuring to know, or intrinsically very interesting even though you won't realistically need to use it?
posted by ziggly to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (28 answers total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
I happily recommend empowerment-based self-defense classes - they're broader-based and useful in a wide variety of situations. They're usually aimed specifically at women but many places offer mixed workshops as well. The de-escalation and awareness components are great for everyone, and most men don't actually have training in the physical side, either.
posted by restless_nomad at 1:14 PM on August 25, 2019 [4 favorites]

Intro to sewing - I’ll never be a seamstress but I can hem my pants

Knife skills - safety, useful, fun.
posted by lepus at 1:14 PM on August 25, 2019 [12 favorites]

I, a guy, would LOVE to know how to operate a sewing machine.

Seconding a class in knife skills as well, if not more extensive cooking techniques.

Bicycle riding or swimming, if they happen not to know how to do either (fairly common in big cities).
posted by rhizome at 1:28 PM on August 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

A "bookkeeping for the small business" course was useful not only for its stated purpose but also for managing personal finances and eventually as a job qualification.
posted by Botanizer at 1:43 PM on August 25, 2019 [3 favorites]

Learn Phonetics, and specifically the International Phonetic Alphabet. The IPA is an alphabet of unambiguous symbols that represent every vocal sound in human language, based on the science of speech. A Phonetics class should teach you how the mouth is structured and sounds are produced, how you can make the different sounds, and how to hear them. Spoken language is such a big part of our lives, and it's really enlightening to grasp how sounds have a reality separate from the letters we use to spell them in words. And it's a huge leg up when you're learning a foreign language -- once you know that the letter Q in Booganese is supposed to be a "pharyngeal labiovelar nasal obstruent," you just follow those instructions to produce the right result.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 1:58 PM on August 25, 2019 [8 favorites]

Mental Health First Aid or First Aid in general.
posted by starlybri at 2:07 PM on August 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

Knife and scissor sharpening.

Start a campfire (various methods).

How to use a handaxe safely. In general, tool use - hand and powered.
posted by porpoise at 2:27 PM on August 25, 2019

Learn to drive a semi truck/tractor trailer.
posted by limeonaire at 2:54 PM on August 25, 2019

Learn to drive a stick-shift car.
posted by Weeping_angel at 3:21 PM on August 25, 2019 [5 favorites]

Do a body language and a situational awareness course.
posted by unearthed at 3:39 PM on August 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

Something crafty like wood shop so you know the tools. Most makerspace type places have a training session before you're allowed to use a certain tool. Learn to operate a bulldozer or forklift or backhoe etc.

If you have a community college around, check out their courses. There are a lot of night or weekend classes on a variety of cool sounding things like cooking or horseback riding or sewing.

Take a flying lesson so you get a chance to sit in the front of a tiny plane.
posted by zengargoyle at 3:40 PM on August 25, 2019 [3 favorites]

A basic sign language class.
posted by DingoMutt at 3:51 PM on August 25, 2019 [7 favorites]

Typing. Some kind of ‘life skills’ class that teaches you all about the basics of being an adult. How to rent an apartment, sew on a button, how credit cards work, that kind of thing. They used to teach this, I’m not sure that they still do.
posted by Jubey at 4:08 PM on August 25, 2019

Learn to tarp/secure a load safely. Learn to hook up and haul a trailer.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:11 PM on August 25, 2019 [4 favorites]

Formal etiquette classes, adapted for the modern age. How to address people, how to eat in a formal setting, eg no phones at the table, use the right fork etc, how to write a proper thank you note.
posted by Jubey at 4:12 PM on August 25, 2019

posted by praemunire at 4:22 PM on August 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

I recently took a 5-day meat cutting class, aka butchery. We also made sausage, stock, and started some hams. Even with a culinary background, this was new territory and I learned so much, A++ recommend.
posted by libraryhead at 4:42 PM on August 25, 2019

I did ASIST training for intervention when there's a risk of suicide. I think it might be a UK-based thing so far.

I've also done NVC (nonviolent communication) training, which I enjoyed and found good skill building.

I'd like to do first aid and some accessible kind of self defence (I'm short, female, not strong). Those are usual though I think.
posted by lokta at 4:50 PM on August 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

Seconding mental health first aid: for Australia, courses here.

A course in black-and-white film photography, developing, and darkroom printing is a great introduction to understanding the basic concepts of photography. It's so easy these days to make images with a phone or digital camera that it's also easy to take for granted the fundamentals of light, exposure, contrast.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 4:53 PM on August 25, 2019

Dancing, great for weddings.

Upholstery -- think of the things you could do with yard sale/thrift shop/sidewalk finds!
posted by jgirl at 6:07 PM on August 25, 2019 [3 favorites]

Basic cooking skills.
posted by emd3737 at 7:42 PM on August 25, 2019

Also, how to build and light a fire! Not a skill I use very often, but one I glad that I have.
posted by emd3737 at 7:43 PM on August 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

I wish I knew basic auto repair.

If you're not already well-versed in Microsoft Office, particularly Excel, formal training is helpful.
posted by Violet Hour at 11:47 PM on August 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

Are you in the U.S.? Narcan training is often free and saves lives.
posted by athirstforsalt at 1:47 AM on August 26, 2019 [4 favorites]

Knots and lashing. Much easier to learn in person from an expert.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:57 AM on August 26, 2019

Not sure if you can get a course on this (I learned through work) but how to do your tax return yourself
posted by EatMyHat at 7:24 PM on August 26, 2019

I really enjoyed taking random craft classes when I lived near a place that offered them. Glassblowing, glass fusing, blacksmithing, welding. I never got very good at any of them but it's been fun knowing the basics of how all that works when you're doing it by hand.

Every once in awhile I use my knots, which I learned to do in my sleep because I was in a Girl Scout troop where we did a lot of scouting-related competitions and one of the events was fast knots. When you need a specific knot you REALLY need it.

I took culinary knife skills recently and it ended up being mostly about how to hold food when you cut it (which, to my shame, I have not implemented as much in my actual life as I probably should have) and like a 45 minute lecture on how important it is to keep your knives sharp as fuck and how to use a steel and whetstone (which I absolutely HAVE implemented and now whenever anyone comes over and uses a knife at my house they're like GIRL, did you JUST buy this knife?????? and I'm like no dog I am just a compulsive brandisher of this high quality knife steel). Really I spent most of the class julienning which was not the best use of my time. In short, knife skills was a mixed bag of a class but I am glad I have ultra sharp knives at my house all the time now.
posted by potrzebie at 7:29 PM on August 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

Take knife skills classes up through the point where you learn how to break down whole chickens and various cuts of meat. I think that's at least two classes at my local Sur La Table. Worth every penny. That's the key to cheap healthy eating right there.

Find a maker space and sign up for all the things. My local library has a small maker lab and offers free classes for 3d printing, laser cutting, vinyl cutting, etc. Being a software guy all my life I reveled in the ability to make something tangible. After that free taste, I took a couple of classes at a larger regional maker lab and, after learning to use some of that cool stuff, I'm hooked. I'm about two years (fingers crossed) from empty nest phase and I am ready to use that extra time and cash learning how to make stuff.
posted by cross_impact at 1:50 PM on August 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

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