second thoughts… third thoughts… why am I leaving this amazing place?  It’s beautiful here.  I can smell fall.  I can hear birds and the leaves rustling in the trees.  No cars or sirens or cell phones ringing.  I don’t touch money.  I harvest the food I eat.  I don’t have a lock on my door.  I walk alone in the dark and know every step of the path.

and still, something else is calling to me.  I don’t feel the pull in this moment, and I know I’ll feel it again.  I want to be doing something… more ?relevant?.  I came here because I wanted to be more connected to the basics of life.  And now I want to be more connected with the other humans on the planet and share what I’ve been learning in this paradise outpost.  Is grad school and eventual professorship the best way to do that?  It’s the most accessible way to me right now, the clearest path.  And still, I retch as I’m filling out my application.  GPA, honor societies, GRE scores… this isn’t who I am — my scores are applying to grad school, not me.  People keep asking me if I’m going to take the Kaplan course to improve my GRE scores, and it feels a bit like steroids in the Olympics.  The Kaplan course isn’t going to make me smarter or more prepared for grad school, it’ll just help me get higher scores.  So the people who can pay for the course get higher scores and the people who don’t pay for the course just get whatever they get without the steroid enhancement.  It’s such a basic and blatant stratification of a supposed “objective measuring of smarts” based on economics.  YUCK!  I don’t want to perpetuate it, and I want to get into grad school.  What’s a justice-minded girl to do?  And of course, there’s the whole academic institution thing in itself.  Folks who can pay for college get a higher education and more opportunities.  Fuck…  what am I doing?