A few years ago, I was considering applying to the Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism for my master’s. Part of their application process includes a news quiz, with a geography test. I have to admit, I was worried. At the time, my knowledge of geography was shaky at best. Sure, I knew the big countries on each continent, but ask me about Africa, the Caribbean or Oceania, I was a deer in headlights. So, I started taking geography quizzes online. And once I started to feel more confident about passing the test, I decided not to apply.
I would still occasionally do geography quizzes, because I’m that kind of person, but it wasn’t until I discovered Sporcle that I really got serious about challenging myself. If you’ve never visited Sporcle, you’re missing out. Want to test your knowledge of Harry Potter? Do a quiz on Sporcle. Think you can name the top 100 books on the BBC’s literature list? Give the quiz a try. Essentially, it is an entire website devoted to wasting time on random quizzes. For some reason though, I was drawn to the countries of the world.
I couldn’t tell you how long it took before I could name all the countries of the world. I will say I’ve done to quiz dozens of times and every time, there’s always that one country that slips my mind. As I get close to the end, I realize I’ve missed something in Europe and an island in Oceania and at least two of the G countries in Africa. Today, it was Liechtenstein. But in the last moment, with 2:22 to spare, I realized I had gotten all the other small European countries; Monaco, San Marino, Andorra and the Vatican. Liechtenstein had slipped through the cracks.
Is it a skill that will come in handy? Maybe. But for now, I’ll take the bragging rights.