Why Experience is Way Better Than School

Why Experience is Way Better Than School

In college I had a professor I absolutely loved. The man was brilliant. He came from an Ivy League school and was known around the country for his expertise on China. Because I liked him so much, I took every class he taught. Consequently, I ended up taking a lot of courses about East Asia.

My final year of college I decided I would start taking teams around the world on 4-month backpacking trips. I decided one my destinations would China. I was excited to tell my professor my plan.

His eyes widened. “Why on earth would you do that?”

I was perplexed. “Because I want to see China firsthand and it seems like an exciting place.”

He shook his head. “I would never go over there.”

“Uh…What? But you are on expert on China. You’ve never been there?”

“No way. I’d never go over there. It’s dangerous and crazy. I’m content using books.”

I was astounded. Everything this expert knew about China was from books. He was terrified to actually go over there. That made me nervous, but I went anyway. And I’m glad I did. That trip made China real to me.

I’m pretty convinced that the best way to learn something is to just throw yourself into it. Sure, read books. Listen to experts. But if you really want to live, at some point, you’ve gotta just take a risk and dive into it.

I learned a lot about China in school. But I learned way more in China. (And the books I read after that had lots more meaning.)

A man with experience is never at the mercy of a man with a theory.

So, get out there and be brave. Dive right into the middle of the place or thing that scares you most. Ya, it’s way less comfortable and safe than sitting in a recliner reading, but the adventure is worth it!