新华社照片,日喀则(西藏),2009年7月24日 藏乡土豆丰收在望 7月23日,西藏南木林县艾玛岗农民卓玛在土豆田里劳作。 西藏日喀则地区南木林县艾玛岗乡是西藏最有名的土豆之乡,2008年该乡土豆种植面积达3.74万亩,占全县土豆种植面积的32%,土豆总产量1.92亿斤,实现收入6720万元,种植土豆已成为当地农民脱贫致富的重要途径。 新华社记者 觉果 摄

To the confusion and protest of many, Rinchen Tangpa, Tibetan mushroom farmer, has made the decision to drop out of the ancestral mushroom farming business and enroll in Stanford University.

“I just needed to get away from it all,” said Rinchen Tangpa. “I felt like I was getting too caught up in that boring cycle, you know? It’s mushrooms from sunrise to sundown, and somewhere in the middle of that I forgot what really matters—computer science.”

Despite accusations that his decision to attend school at one of the most prestigious and rigorous universities in the world is just a product of laziness, ineptitude at mushroom farming, or an attempt to work on his mushroom farming startup, Tangpa claims that he’s happy with his decision. He describes the landscape of his home township Yadong as isolated, referring to the “Yadong Bubble” as something that made it difficult for him to keep his perspective with the rest of the world. “At Stanford, though, I think I’ll be a lot better at that. Everyone here seems so at ease, in-tune with nature—it’s inspiring, really.”

This lifestyle change isn’t without its difficulties, though. According to Tangpa, his mother has been infuriated with his decision to waste the mushroom tuition she and his father had put towards his mushroom farming degree.

“I think it’s for the better, though,” said Tangpa while warming his hands around a cup of Coupa coffee. “The mushroom major is so demanding; back home, it’s like you had to have your whole life planned out ahead of you as soon as you committed to it. One mistake farming, and your career was ended. Here, though, my schedule is so much more flexible, and I don’t feel like I’m just biking from one place to another at max speed. I have time to relax, which does wonders for my emotional stability. No wonder they don’t fund any mental health resources here — all the people here must be so happy!”

At press time, Tangpa was seen in the Huang Engineering Center basement, entering his 14th consecutive hour there while dancing naked and shouting with joy while others passed by, too busy or stressed to pay attention to a happy person.

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