Hate is a strong word, and I have found that little good comes from that emotion or corresponding words and deeds. However, permit me to say that I do hate something.

I hate the phrase: “It is just school, not real life.”

The phrase is wrong on multiple levels. First off, there is the connotation that school doesn’t count. Misleading at best, and I’ll leave the arguments here to our college counselor and the seniors who are filling out many of their scholarship applications this week. Second is the connotation that school is practice and life is the real thing. Anybody who works for a living knows that practice is never ending. The phrase “Fake it till you make it” has its own Wikipedia entry. Really.

But what bothers me most is the subtext that for kids life has yet to begin. There are no truer emotions than those of children. The lessons learned in childhood are no less real than those we pick up on the job, nor are the hardships any less painful. If you have any doubt, think back to your own middle school experiences. Tell me that the scars you still feel about an experience or slight are somehow less real because they took place before your “real life” began.

I have been reading a few studies recently that emphasize the tangible impact education has on our lives. Some of you may have read the nice story about a Marshall student posted in the StarTribune recently. Get past the information about hockey and you can see the ways in which Marshall has altered the trajectory of a young man’s life. The best part is that this one story is not unique. A short round of conversations with faculty members yesterday uncovered numerous examples of how Marshall made a life-changing impact on a student.

We try to run a school that models the best of what life can be: a group of diverse individuals coming together with a common mission. For the adults in the building, what better way to spend a real life.