There’s a lot to unpack in Carol’s accounting of herself here, which I think we can take as completely genuine. She’s past lies in her current state.

It probably goes without saying, especially in today’s America, that anyone who can graduate college, still be undecided about what they want to do, and have options like the fields of politics and law comes from some privilege. Carol’s likely grown up celebrated for her intelligence, and pretty enough to be elevated rather than stuck with the nerd herd. Nice childhood and adolescence if you can get it, but it comes with a lot of expectations. You didn’t get all those good grades not to solve climate change, did you?

“I needed to hear that”: I suspect that as she transitioned from college to adulthood, Carol experienced just enough struggle to realize the stubbornness of the world’s problems, from which she’d always been a bit sheltered. Things always seem to get more and more complicated. It can be appealing to be told that all those smarties are wrong, and we were right back when we thought things were simpler. Weren’t those happier times?