What I didn't know before coming to Yale's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies was that it was a professional school. Or, perhaps, I didn't know that a professional school was categorically different than the other schools I'd learned in.
What I didn't know before coming to F&ES was that professional schools are structured to provide students a basic understanding in the sciences relevant to their intended profession before providing tools by which to apply those sciences. I didn't know that it was all about applying general scientific principles to specific practical cases. Before, I'd never heard about normative curricular model. I didn't know this'd be basically medical school.
What I didn't know was that professional schools like these serve to uphold convention because they are convention. I didn't know I'd have to choose between rigor and relevance and I didn't know that the word justice would give people chills. I didn't know that there'd be so few crazy people, or that the number of faculty of color would be closer to zero than to three, that female faculty wouldn't have a voice, that the social sciences would still be considered soft, and that the notion of having faculty in the visual arts would be heresy.
What I didn't know is that there'd only be two solutions to a problem: policy or the market. I didn't know these two years'd be a sprint, or that the network for which this school is a nexus is in charge of a lot of shit. I didn't know that there'd only be portraits of white guys on the walls and that someone'd etch nigger in the bathrooms stalls.
I'm indebted to this school insofar as it has opened doors to rooms which I'd never have keys to otherwise, but I wish sometimes that we'd wonder about which rooms to choose, whether the meetings in those rooms are worthwhile, about who's not at those meetings, and about which doors we haven't yet thought to forge keys to.
I'm still trying to figure out how to love all this life.