Don’t ask me how many classes I’ve taken in my life, or who my teachers were… but I like to think that I manage to keep something from every encounter, even if it’s not something directly related to the class.
For example, in my high school physical science class, our teacher liked to answer all kinds of questions, no matter how outlandish they might be. If he couldn’t answer he had a go-to phrase that I still use in a regular basis: “It’s possible, but not probable.” Maybe he thought he didn’t want to be the one person that stopped someone from developing a teleportation machine or flying car.
My first year in college is mostly a blur, but I’ll never forget this one maxim my Chemistry I teacher: “Two, four, six, eight — who do we appreciate? Valence electrons! I don’t remember why valence electrons are important, but I can’t help but cheer for them every now and again.
A Calculus professor explained many basics the first day, including the importance of zero when it’s used to measure distance, particularly when talking about two objects occupying the same space. After presenting a couple more “That being said, what is the shortest distance between two points?, to which many in the class mechanically answered “a straight line! More annoyed than disgusted he calmly replied, “what did we just learn about zero?”
While I quote some of these regularly, the one the comes up the most is one from the only newspaper design class I ever took (the only one offered during my time studying journalism): The first and probably only rule of newspaper design is “Beg, borrow and steal.” I apply this to many enterprises.