With no disrespect to MSU Billings and Rocky Mountain College, let's pretend for a minute that Billings was a university. Let's call it... Billings University. Our entire town is a campus of higher learning, where knowledge seekers would came from around the world to expand their horizons, earning degrees and life skills necessary to become successful in Billings.

Here's our list of imaginary degrees you could earn from the prestigious Billings University:

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Growing Hail Resistant Plants

Hail is a curse for farmers and gardeners in south central Montana, where it seems like we get at least a couple of damaging hail storms every season. This degree teaches you the secrets of growing new (imaginary) strains of GMO hail-hardy plants, able to withstand golf ball sized hail with little to no damage.

Course prerequisite: Living with Grasshoppers.

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Defensive Driving

If you're not driving at least 15 mph over the speed limit around Billings, you'll likely get flipped off. At minimum you'll earn dirty looks, as cars whiz by you with not a care in the world for traffic laws. Stop signs are merely suggestions and 'yellow' absolutely means 'green' at stoplights. This degree will help you survive the mean streets of B-Town. Hint, don't be like the guy in the photo.

Course prerequisite: Introduction to Roundabouts

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Thieves and How to Stop Them

Theft is a big issue in Billings. Daily we hear reports of work trailers, tools, bikes, cars, etc. being stolen, often in broad daylight. Catalytic converter theft is on the rise too, with thieves cutting the pieces of exhaust off your vehicle while it's parked overnight. Pretty ballsy, right? This degree will teach you how secure your stuff like Fort Knox.

Course prerequisite: Why Meth Sucks

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Living in the Shadow

This program will teach you how to cope with being the ugly duckling city of Montana. Don't get us wrong, we love Billings. It's a great place with good people. We have excellent hospitals, ample retail, plenty of food and drink options and somewhat affordable housing. However, we're very different than Bozeman, Missoula, Whitefish or Big Fork. We're certainly not comparable to Big Sky, nor Paradise Valley. Our nearest mountains are 45 minutes away and a casual observer driving through Billings on I-90 only sees an industrial snapshot of our beloved city.

Course prerequisite: Overrated Cities in Montana

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Casino Management

Who says you need a hospitality degree from UNLV? Come to Billings U and learn the finer points of operating one of the hundreds of casinos dotting every street and town in Montana. You'll learn inside details of the business, like how to optimize snack options and when to incorporate the giant prize wheel into your casino operation.

Course prerequisite:  Are Gambling, Meth and Theft Related?

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Obviously, we're joking with these imaginary degrees at Billings University, so please don't get all huffy. It's easy to poke fun at our hometown for its misgivings, but in the big picture, Billings doesn't have that many big problems. Our economy has been fairly strong for decades. Our home prices aren't skyrocketing to the ridiculous levels of other Montana towns and Billings really is a great place to live, work and play.

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