During undergraduate, I took an Anthropology course on World Systems that rocked my world and made my paradigm shift. I decided to become an anthropologist, though not without serious misgivings about how to be ethical, serve community, and make a difference. I accepted an underrepresented minority graduate fellowship at the nation's highest ranked Anthropology department; though I did not know it at the time, I later found that this department was notorious for being divisive and elitist and wasn't all that interested in how to be ethical, serve community, and make a difference.
Though there was a POC graduate student network, and within the department, an Anthropology grad student organized POC mentoring, I still felt bewildered, alienated, and despairing. Many of the professors were territorial/arrogant about their research areas and their advisees. My advisor was a kind, if absent-minded junior professor who was just as bewildered as me negotiating the bureaucracy that is academia's backbone. I witnessed the Kafkaesque tenure process destroy him, as it had destroyed a professor who mentored me in undergraduate. My advisor's close colleague, whom he held in the highest respect, betrayed him and excoriated his work for no other reason than spite and vindictiveness.
He emerged from the process with tenure, but his physical health and mental health greatly suffered. When his kindness warped into patriarchal manipulation and badgering, when I saw the same hazing processes unfold in my friends' orals/dissertation, I realized that the ivory tower is a white supremacist institution designed to break a person down through emotional and mental hazing, through unethical practices, to sever their ties to community, uphold the status quo, and remold them in this patriarchal pathology. And so I left with manageable debt and my sanity intact.