I just dropped out of college after a truly shitty semester. I was studying sociology and anthropology - lots of talk about social justice and corporate/governmental abuses. lots of marxist/feminist criticism. I was also on a full scholarship, and often rather disgusted by being forced to live in the middle of a suburban consumerist area. I'm planning to move to the pacific northwest rather than stay in the bible belt. (other queer vegetarians are in rather short supply here...some community would be nice.)
is it justifiable to go into debt to return to school? I'm thinking I'm probably going to apply to The Evergreen State College after I'm eligable for in-state tuition - to study ecology/biology (probably ethnobotany in grad school, or palynology - both relevent to climate change/anti-globalism sorts of work), probably with some sort of focus in sustainable agriculture and/or conservation. I figure I could put that to use in an intentional community setting, or in activism/advocacy if I ever chose to return to academia. is it worth being forced to compromise by getting a paying job to pay off the loans. it would obligate me to pay taxes and probably participate in the consumer economy at least a little for several years. if I ditched school and didn't have loans I wouldn't have to worry about money so much as food and shelter (and I think finding alternative means of providing them is very important), so it sort of feels like I have a choice between gaining useful expertise by living in the belly of the beast for a decade longer, or going and WWOOFing or joining a commune or something and learning more direct, hands on ways to change things myself. I think hard science is one of the few places the existing hierarchy can positively contribute to social change...especially in the environmental arena.
does participating in "the system" in order to get an education constitute a moral compromise? does the practical benefit that a scientific background could bring to movements for change outweigh the necessary financial participation in the inertia of a corrupt and violent economic system?
is it our responsibility to reject unfair advantages (like educational oppurtunities) as long as our brothers and sisters don't have them? or is it a greater sin for well-intentioned, well-informed people to reject the oppurtunities they could use to make change? I both better than most at academics (which is not a virtue, just a fact), and better at academics than anything else I can do. it plays to all my natural strengths, and I really don't know what I would do otherwise.
I can't tell if I really want to go back to school because I think it's the best way to equip myself to help the world, or if I'm just saying that because I'm too much of a pussy to really reject my place in a culture of exploitation. is school justified from a radical perspective, or am I just trying to justify to myself remaining bourgeois?