A school tackling life’s bigger questions

Marketplace Staff Feb 10, 2009

A school tackling life’s bigger questions

Marketplace Staff Feb 10, 2009


Steve Chiotakis: In this economic fallout, it seems like everyone’s consumed with
whether they’ll keep their jobs or their homes. Maybe they’re thinking about retirement or the kids’ college education.
Well there’s one school in London that’s cashing in by asking the really big questions. Our story now from Christopher Werth.

Anne Braybon: Would you like to come and sit down?

Christopher Werth: At the new School of Life in London, Anne Braybon’s course on work is completely full.

Braybon: Gather together. I think there’ll be two groups of six, the rest in fives.

The course is meant to help people who still have jobs get more out of their working lives by exploring the meaning of, well, life.

Sophie Howarth: What we’re concerned with here at the School of Life is the most enduring question of all: how should I live.

That’s Sophie Howarth, the school’s director, she opened her doors last fall, and her courses are fully booked through the spring.

The work course runs over a weekend and costs about $300. The School of life also offers classes on everything from love to politics, and other meaningful topics.

Will Bremmer is a bartender, and he travelled 300 miles to be here.

Will Bremmer: It is a long way to come, but it is quite interesting to spend a weekend looking at what drives you and where you see yourself going.

Class members write out their main career goals like newspaper headlines, and then they’re posted around the classroom.

Bremmer: My headline is: I’d like to know what I want to achieve.

Just because people are grateful to still be employed, the larger questions don’t necessarily go away.

Alice Driscoll isn’t planning on leaving her advertising career anytime soon, but:

Alice Driscoll: There is something in the back of my head and I’ve got this feeling that I know I want to experience something else.

If that something else is philosophy or beekeeping, then she’s in the right place. The school of life can even rent you experts in a number of professions by the hour.

Howarth: So if you’re interested in the beekeeper, he’ll show you the bees. If you’re interested in meeting with the philosopher, it’s more likely to be sitting in a cafe over a cup of coffee.

At the end of the day, everyone piles into taxis and heads off to dinner at a small furniture making factory on the other side of town.

Howarth: We use the whole city as a guerrilla campus to kind of explore the work that other people are doing.

And lucky enough for Howarth, pondering life’s big questions is proving to be recession-proof.

In London, I’m Christopher Werth for Marketplace.

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