To learn something the hard way (by experience)

The problem with you is that you've been spoiled your whole life. You haven't had gone through the school of hard knocks to teach you what the world is really like!

I didn't go to college, but I went to the school of hard knocks. I learned everything by experience.

Synonym: The university of life
by Zami Karzai September 15, 2018
Your white trashy cousin studied there according to his Facebook page.
"Honey, where did your cousin go to school?"
"Well according to his Facebook page he has Studied at the school of hard knocks"
"I'll put that in his obituary."
by greenhat99 October 24, 2020
To learn something (usually a life lesson) the hard way. (Some say the best way to really learn is to learn from your mistakes.)
She was street wise... having learned many a lesson about life at the school of hard knocks.
by PlaceHolder June 17, 2004
Life itself; knowledge (and wisdom) gained by working for it, and not necessarily from a book.
You can learn more common sense from the school of hard knocks, than from most any university.
by tradesman June 15, 2004
The practical experience of life, including hardship and disappointments.

Often used by those who couldn't/didn't go to college for whatever reason and instead went through hardships and disappointments.
He pulled himself up by the bootstraps and made his way through the school of hard knocks.
by scarletswitchblade June 14, 2004
1a. Descriptive of the many violent, scary and/or emotionally difficult events that give young people their "smarts" and teach them about the daily struggle to survive in the streets.

1b. Something that an ignorant fuckwit who wouldn't know what to do with a book even if he/she owned one says when he/she finds out that you went further in education than him/her.
1a. "I, on the other hand, am a fully rounded human being, with a degree from the University of Life, a diploma from the School of Hard Knocks, and four gold stars from the Kindergarten of Getting The Shit Kicked Out Of Me." - Blackadder

1b. "College? Me? Nah. School of hard knocks, mate, school of hard knocks."
by Dave June 17, 2004
1. A Unestablished yet active education system located worldwide with only One class: Street Smarts 101 in wich you learn from your enviroment & the costly mistakes you make

2. Street Education of the obvious or Street Common Sense
"Whats that nerd doing around here? He ain't from the School of hardknocks"

"Girl you know better then to walk through Centarl Park at knight wearing that skimpy Skirt, you better go back to the School of Hardknocks"
by Platinum Pistolz June 15, 2004