More grad school problems!!

So I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about grad school. And by a lot I do actually mean a lot, not just yeah, I’ve thought about it a couple times. Because I think it’s kinda important. And I have no idea what I want to do!

I thought for a while about what I want to go into, and I emailed a bunch of people. Some of them emailed me back with helpful advice (the alums from my school were the most helpful) and others emailed back with “well if you have a specific question I’l answer it … maybe you should email so-and-so.” (I had already emailed so-and-so, but three people did tell me to go email him.)

One woman was extremely helpful, even though she made me question myself sooo many times. She sent me a link to several articles by grad students in archaeology/anthropology. I only read a few of them, but they were not encouraging. One person wrote about how terrible and stressful it was, but they’ve made it through. Another one dropped out after the worst three years of their life. Another article was about how hard it was to even get into grad school, and how lots of times there would be no real reason why you got rejected from a program. Like I said, not encouraging.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, she also mentioned the idea of going into museum studies, and that kinda threw me for a loop. After all, I think working in a museum would be a great job. And I would probably like the grad program for it as well. I think it would be fun to learn to preserve artifacts, and I’d like having to set up an exhibit, and I’d love being able to go through the museum archives!

But I’m also really interested in the archaeology. I loved working in the field. I enjoyed digging, and sifting through all the dirt looking for artifacts, and I even enjoyed washing the artifacts, because it was so cool to see a dirty clay-covered object become a pretty shiny lithic or piece or ceramic.

Only problem is, I don’t know if I’d like the program. I don’t know if I could survive a graduate program in anthropology or archaeology. I have never taken an anthropology course. Ever. If I get into an anthro program, where everyone else has an undergrad background in anthro, I will be so much behind everyone. And I will have to work sooo much harder to compensate for the fact that I don’t have that background. And I don’t know if I’d be able to do that. The person I talked to today suggested I either take an anthro course here, or at least just sit in on a few classes, to see what I think of it. I may try to do that.

Now, I know I am not a humanities person. Which is one of the reasons why I don’t want to go into Classical archaeology, because it’s humanities based. They focus more on the literature and the languages. I only want to read the writing to find out what the history is. Which, in terms of mesoamerica, means I want to read the stela to see who was ruling when, but I don’t want to read about their myths or stories.

That’s not to say that I don’t find mythology interesting. On the contrary, I do enjoy it. I enjoy reading about it or learning the myths in my spare time. But I don’t want to really focus on that. I’d much rather focus on the people. I want to know how people lived their daily lives, and I understand that I need to know some of the myths and rituals that were important to them, but I care more about their houses and shops and trade and alliances and marriages.

And that’s what I finally decided. I want to know how people in these ancient cultures lived. I want to know their daily routine. I want to learn their writing systems so that I can learn their histories. But I don’t care about the codices. I don’t care about their predictions and omens. I want to deal with the tangible lives of the people.

So I can see why the dirt archaeology is interesting to me, because I would be dealing with the villages and buildings and marketplaces that these people lived and worked in. And I can understand why the museum studies is interesting to me, because I would be taking care of, preserving, and showing off the artifacts that these people left behind.

So now I don’t know what path I want to take. I’m kinda thinking … and it may be crazy … that I’ll try to get a MA or certificate in museum studies, and then if I still want to pursue archaeology, I’ll go get my PhD in archaeology. I think that could work.

I have one major problem with the archaeology. I do not want to teach. Ever. To anyone. I don’t want to be a professor. I don’t want to have to give lectures. I don’t want to speak in front of people. And this is a problem. Because I’ll never be able to completely avoid giving talks or lectures, especially if I want to continue in archaeology. Even if I’m working in a museum, I may need to give lectures or presentations of my exhibits. And while it is possible to be an archaeologist working through a museum, and therefore not a professor, that is rare. But I want it!

So now my job is to keep looking up grad programs and find one that I want to do, that I’ m able to do, and hope that they’ll take me!

Published in: on August 16, 2010 at 10:31 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. As a current graduate student, I can understand the comments that other students have made about the negative side to graduate school. It also has a lot to do with what you make of it though, it gives you access to professors who have great connections and given the right program, you can gain a lot of practical experience.

    • Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind!

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