It has only taken me five minutes of sitting in the library to realize that going to graduate school was the right choice for me. To some of my friends, the idea of jumping back into the world of endless reading lists and long days spent in the library four months after graduating seemed unappealing, and they went off and got jobs. I went back for more. Oxford’s Social Science Library is so much like the library in Wallace Hall that I’ve had to take off my headphones to listen to the English accents of the librarians in order to remind myself that I’m actually in a new country.
To some extent, I do wish that I was actually doing something to actively help the world, volunteering abroad or working at a non-profit. Being back at school feels a bit like hypocrisy: I’m embracing my privilege to do things that interest me, rather than harnessing it to help others. But when you can actually get excited about sitting down to read pages and pages of texts on qualitative research methods, or when searching for an assigned text on development economics you wish you could read the whole shelf, you realize that maybe staying in academia was a good call.