LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Students protest the rising costs of student loans for higher education on Hollywood Boulevard on September 22, 2012 in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles, California. Citing bank bailouts, the protesters called for student debt cancelations. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

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Business Administration was my college major. Did I ever use any of it in “real life?” Not that I can remember. I’ve done a lot in my 50 years of work experience. Mostly in selling and retail management.

While a college degree might be helpful in selling some items — for the most part all you need is product knowledge and the ability to show consumers that the benefits of having your products is worth more than not having that product.

There’s Learning And Then There’s Learning

I can honestly say that I learned more about business working one year in a business environment than 48 months of college. Most of the things I needed for success where not even mentioned in the classroom.

Mostly I was exposed to theory rather than reality. Education sticks with norms. Real life sticks with nonconformity and chaos.

The College Experience

Classrooms or beer pong? Hitting the books or hitting the bars? Binge drinking or binge studying? If there is such a thing.

Our average 21 year old takes off the cap and gown and enters the workforce around $30,000 in debt, with zero assets and no practical experience doing a single productive thing other than listening to boring professors spouting the same nonsense they spouted ten years ago. In many cases they hit the streets with outdated information.

Can you think of a better way to start a productive life than drowning in debt and having a high level of alcohol tolerance?

I’m Not Anti-Education

If you plan to be an engineer, accountant, attorney, doctor, or math wiz, there is no question that a good education can give you a good starting point in life. Those are professions where on-the-job training is not available, nor desirable.

College can be a rewarding and memorable social experience. Contacts you make in college can come in handy in the future. Lasting friendships and possibly your life’s partner might be found somewhere within those ivy covered walls.

Some Final Thoughts

The most critical thing I learned in school was not stuff. Not sure how knowing when the War of 1812 occurred will help me solve a personnel problem.

The critical thing I learned in school was “how” to learn. Where to go to find the info I needed to make informed decisions. I never picked up a textbook to find that kind of info.

The real difference between life and education is life gives you the test first then provides the materials you needed to pass. Perhaps that’s why failure comes before success in the dictionary.

How’s your learning coming?

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