If a pub is a poor man’s university then I must be one of the most extensively, informally educated men around. It’s not something to take as cold, hard fact, yet, sometimes I like to think if one could, then it’d be at the least another reason to turn one’s nose up at the thought of paying for a college education today.
The biggest problem college educations have going for them, besides their being generally cost-prohibitive, is they have an expiration date. The degree one receives today may not lend the same value to one’s job aspirations and career path ten years down the road. It may not even be applicable five years from now. Additionally, once those ten years are here, individuals are still oftentimes paying off the loans they took to pay for their educations. It’s a nasty financial albatross to have around one’s neck, knowing a college degree can be rendered obsolete in less time than it took to acquire it.
It really sucks to have to say things like, “If I knew what I know now back then, I never would have gone to college.” What an awful thing to have to realize. But, if you can get a master’s, then you will probably have a leg up on the pub university grad when competing for the same position in the job place.
That is, unless you find a progressive employer who will take a chance on an interesting candidate whose upside may be greater than one who has shot their proverbial achievements wad during their academic lives.
It happens. Sometimes the most book smart people are utter and total failures, underachievers when it comes to the professional world. I’m not saying bar flies are better fits in the work place, but depending on whether or not there is a lot of sales involved for the job, they may be better suited to make cold calls. One might argue that life in pubs is an unending series of cold calls, cold beers and cold, hard stares. Knowing how to contend with all of this gives the pub university grad the gift of versatility. They can size up their audiences with greater degrees of accuracy, speed and success because they’ve acquired people skills that cannot be taught in academia.
Pubs are the real world, universities are theory-based environments. Plus, you can oftentimes get hot nuts at pub universities. We all know that food in work settings is a great perk. We know this because recent studies support this. Perhaps the food in pubs isn’t always gourmet, but it most definitely fills the void that helps us cross over into handling situations successfully.
If you are in college and you’re hungry, you don’t think right or as well. Not thinking as well as when your gullet is full leaves a lot of margin for error, too. It limits your ability to be successful on exams. If you grab that little cup of hot nuts in the bar, you are able to make it through the conversation with the attractive member of the opposite sex sitting next to you, confidently. Receiving a smile because your brain and words made her smile and laugh, makes you feel good, too. It carries over into the rest of your day and whatever it is that may come next.
Pub university grads also have occasion to acquire other skills they may find useful in life. Shuffleboard, pool, air hockey, dancing and darts all entail and teach us critical socialization skills. We have to have live, face-to-face conversations when we are engaging in these kinds of activities in bars. In college, these activities are frowned upon except during after class hours. And, I would suggest that if you’re hitting the clubs instead of the books, you are for sure throwing away your parents and/or your own, hard earned money.
I was touring the Wadsworth-Longfellow House in Portland recently and it occurred to me that I don’t know anyone who puts down “poet” for their occupation when they do their taxes. This brings me back to one of my original points in this post: before you decide to go to college, if you, probably, like me, will never know what you want to be when you grow up, do yourself a favor and postpone, if not entirely abandon, your college aspirations. You’ll thank me for it later when you’re able to pay cash money for a decent used car because your credit hasn’t been destroyed by the crushing debt of student loans. Life is hard enough without starting out behind the financial eight ball.
Visit a pub, buy a pint and talk to one of the local bar flies. The education you receive from them may be just the thing you need to help you decide what’s truly best for you, or at the least, what you should avoid.