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Experience Trumps Book Smarts Every Time!

I often tell young people it doesn’t make any difference where you go to college. What is most important is that you go to college. Sure, there are some advantages from going to an elite school. Specialty areas of study, an active alumni network and the sheen that comes from the reputations of some of these schools all help. Some open doors of opportunity. Often when some doors shut on alumni, for almost any reason, another opens. That’s good.

If it doesn’t work out the way you planned and you have to settle for a B-rated school, so what. Wherever you go to school, some things will happen. You will get four years older, depending on how long it takes you to graduate. That’s real important, those years between 18 and 22 are significant maturity years. Young men and women gain practical experience figuring out how to live on their own. Millennials, who believe they are entitled to respect and an award for everything they do, will learn valuable lessons when mom and dad aren’t there to fix everything they don’t like.

The average age of a full professor is fifty-five. Therefore, this September your child will be taught by someone more like your age. If we blame the entitlement culture on the parents of Millennials, keep this in mind. Those professors care about their kids the most. Therefore, your son or daughter will expect much but receive less. After complaining to you that something isn’t fair, you will light up the switchboards at the college. Fortunately, the calls will go unanswered, and your child will have to figure out how to do things on their own. What a valuable lesson, it is almost worth the tuition you will be paying. If you are a student don’t spend all your time planning everything, you’re bound to fail. You want to go to Harvard, great. Careful what you wish for.

See what it feels like when you get there with all the top students in the world. You will quickly find that there are many who are smarter than you are. The high school hero often becomes the college zero in some of these environments. The suicide rates for MIT are alarming with Harvard not far behind.


Think there is a relationship? And for parents how about this one: sounds great to be in the top 1% of income or net worth doesn’t it? This population owns 40% of the nation’s wealth. When you get there, though, you realize how far it is from the top to the bottom of the range. That must be why we have basis points (a basis point is one-hundredth of one percent). Our generation grew up with things. The more toys, the more you were a winner. But, nothing trumps toys like money. Making a cool half million must sound great. However, you won’t bump into anyone from the top of the 1% at cocktail parties. You can’t afford to go to them, and there is no chance you will get a free invitation.

The point here is some of us baby boomers produced those Millennials. We held their hands through thick and thin. We cried foul when they didn’t get enough playing time or make the team they coveted. We rewarded them for first steps and missed steps to make them feel better. Now we are complaining because they don’t want to work in restaurants or on the back of garbage trucks for money before they go off to school. They demand respect when they haven’t earned it. They want to be treated like us.



Because we raised them that way.

Now they all want to go to Stanford, Harvard or (insert school name here) because that is what we taught them. Well, the news here is most of them won’t get into one of these schools. They will be disappointed and have to settle for something they believe is less.

In this case, it just might turn out that less is more. To be successful in life, this generation of young men and women will have to figure out how to do things on their own.

That’s always a good lesson.

They most likely will do this later in life than we did and that’s our fault. We are the ones who raised them to depend on us. We changed after 9/11; we drew our family and kids closer never wanting to let them go or to make a decision on their own. In the end, they will figure out that success in life, love, and work takes effort. A lot of it and a little more just might get them there.

Ten years from now they will be working their asses off trying to establish a career. Twenty years from now they will be in the throes of hard work and the beginnings of how success feels. Thirty years from now they will be telling their kids, they wanted to go to Harvard but couldn’t get in. They will follow this up with the reasons they became successful, hard work and experience.

My best, Chris

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About Chris

Christian J. Farber

After a thriving corporate career, Chris now enjoys retirement at the Jersey Shore. As a prostate cancer survivor, he's committed to educating men about the disease and covers various topics like Alcoholism, Multiple Sclerosis, and Career Success in his featured writing on platforms such as The Good Men Project, Huffington Post, and Thrive Global.

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