Thursday, December 01, 2011

On Saturday I will finish grad school, which as far as life list goals go is perhaps not the most romantic but is still kind of a big deal. It's been feeling a lot like an anticlimax, and this I believe is because two days after I finished my undergrad I moved 3,000 miles and started a whole new life. The week after this milestone, I have jury duty, which is not exactly another revolution. Not unusually, I am feeling restless.

I started down this road two and a half years ago because I had realized that this life of public service is the one I want, but I've been working for the same nonprofit for seven years now and that's a pretty limited view of the landscape. (Also, you know, I like to do things properly and officially, because I am secretly a little old man.) I needed new angles.

People keep asking me if it has been worth it, which is a valid question--I've invested a lot of time in the whole thing all while working a full time job, gone back into student loan debt, and written a whole lot of nonsensical papers about things like bat fungus and tax law. (Although, regrettably, not both at the same time.) Higher education is such a highly contested thing these days, with a lot of shallowly reasoned arguments on both sides. There are absolutely a lot of problems with the whole system, and my program itself is pretty deeply flawed, but even with all of that in mind it's always felt like the right thing for me to do. I am frustrated and exhausted and restless, but also a better and more thoughtful public servant. And that was really the goal all along.