Well, I wouldn't divide it up the way you did. To me, the two are inextricably intertwined. As far as my time in college, I wouldn't know what to call "life experience" and what to call "education-related". Sort of a false bifurcation of the general experience IMHO.
Anyhow, I disagree that one could move to a college town and it would be just as good. It would be useful in many ways, but hardly equivalent to someone who actually attended the university. Once again, just my opinion.
Sounds like you had a really interesting and enriching road, my friend. I sort of envy the path you took (I cannot join the military), but I'm sort of perplexed as to how you saw school and the Marines as similar in a non-educational way. I've got many friends in all branches of the military and I don't think any of them would agree (more anecdotes, I know!) that it was similar to school in that way. But everybody has a different experience, and I for one think that is an awesome thing.
As far as success goes, well I guess it all depends on how you define it. If you mean getting rich and influential in a political, or socio-economic context, well then I certainly agree with that. However, for myself, 'success' has not much to do with how much I earn or how much influence I exert. To be able to engage in high-level, intellectual discourse, to have real friends, to have a comfortable lifestyle, and to be satisfied in my interactions with others would possibly be measured as success.
Completely agree about people being duped into college, though. A lot of people just think it is the "next step" after HS, or they go because they are forced by family/really believe what they see and hear from others about the necessity of going to college. However, if we're being honest, most people are not smart enough to make anything of their lives (by my standards or popular standards) without the aid of an advanced degree. Not saying that it would be guaranteed, but it would at least help. For those few who can, more power to them. That is what America is about.
Thanks for the thoughtful reply to my post. :)
"The casualty of partisanship is objectivity."
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