At age 22, a large number of T.J. Brodie’s high school classmates are on the verge of graduating from university with a fancy piece of paper to show for four years of study.

Understandably, the smooth-skating rearguard feels like he is attending an institution for higher learning — albeit of a different kind — this season with the Calgary Flames.

Call it a crash course in the life of a top-four defenceman in the National Hockey League.

“It’s nice,” Brodie says of the massive increase in workload. “The more you play, if you make a bad pass or something, it’s a lot easier to forget about it if you go out the next shift. You don’t have to sit on the bench and think about it, and then the next time you’re out there, you’re a little bit nervous, because you don’t want to do it again.

“I think playing a little bit more, it’s definitely a little easier.”

Playing a little more? In the absence of the departed Jay Bouwmeester and the distracted (new papa) Mark Giordano on Friday night, Brodie logged a career-high 26:27 against the San Jose Sharks.

Less than 24 hours later — with Giordano back at his command post — Brodie patrolled the blueline for 22:03 on Hockey Night in Canada against the Vancouver Canucks.

“During the Vancouver game, it obviously starts to catch up to you,” he concedes. “But in the third period, I felt pretty good. I think I got my second wind.”

He shrugs.

“Sometimes, you’re sore. Sometimes, you’re whole body is tight. It’s just part of the game.”