Posted by: Anonymous Me | September 26, 2010

Once upon a time…

So, now that you know where I am and what’s happening, I should probably explain how I got here. The only place to begin is the beginning…SO…Many moons ago when I was a bright-eyed, insecure teenager, it was my personal belief that tigers were the coolest animal EVER! An opinion I still hold today.

I mean seriously…How can the awesomeness be denied?!?!

Anyhoo…So, I was young and awash in tiger coolness. I HAD to find a way to make a career out of learning about tigers! (Awwww!!! Remember when you were a teenager, and everything had a desperate urgency attached to it! So glad those days are over!! LOL! 🙂 I settled on going to college for a degree in zoology which I would ideally be able to parlay into a job studying tiger behavior. It was the best idea EVER! Well, when it came time to apply for schools, money limitations and my own procrastinatory tendencies led me to apply to the local branch of the state university. They did not have a zoology program so I settled on being a biology major. I was a decent biology student so I was unfazed by having to make such a compromise. Little did I know that to complete a biology degree one must take seven chemistry classes. What?!?!? If I wanted to take that much chemistry, I would have just been a chemistry major for pete’s sake!!! All that to say, while I have a moderate level of aptitude for understanding biology, the understanding of chemistry eludes me to this day. (A shout out to my cousin, Linsy Hop, for being awesome at chemistry!) I enrolled in General Chemistry 101 my first semester at school. Despite never missing class and being awake throughout each one (a huge challenge), my grades that semester were 64, 48, and 32. (Yes, I still remember them.) It was quickly apparent that this foray into chemistry was not going to end well. I needed an escape plan and fast!

It was around this time that I was also enrolled in an Intro to Anthropology class (to meet the Social Science requirement for my degree). The professor for this class, Dr. Hanson, was freaking phenomenal! He made every topic easy to understand and relevant. I could have listened to him talk about green slime! Everything we discussed in class was so INTERESTING and FASCINATING! It was basically the coolest thing since tigers! It was then that the solution to my chemistry problem presented itself in my mind. So, in my sophomore year, I switched majors from biology to anthropology. At that point, I had no desire to go into the field of anthropology. I reasoned that employers, for the most part, don’t care which degree you have, as long as you have a degree. I might as well spend my time and money studying the awesomest subject I could find (with the fewest chemistry requirements)!!

At this point in the program, I should probably answer the question that’s probably floating in the back of your mind somewhere…What the deuce is anthropology? Here’s what it is not:

It is not the study of dinosaurs. That would be paleontology.

And it most certainly is NOT the study of ants. That would be myrmecology. (Answer courtesy of Google! 🙂

Anthropology is the study of humans past and present. If it has anything to do with humans or human ancestors, anthropologists study it. There are four subfields in anthropology:

~ archaeology – the study of past humans and the remains/artifacts associated therewith – These are the peeps that dig up stuff.
~ physical (or biological) anthropology – the study of human body, its evolution, and human ancestors – This topic covers a broad spectrum. These peeps could be anything from primatologists studying non-human primates to coroners who examine the deceased for clues about how they died. (The main character on the tv show “Bones” is a forensic anthropologist.)
~ linguistics – the study of human language
~ cultural (or social) anthropology – the study of present-day humans and anything associated therewith – Family, education, ethnicity, politics, food…If it has to do with what people are doing now, these peeps will study it. (This is my chosen field of interest but more on that later.)

Anyhoo…So, where were we? Ah, yes! I was taken with the fabulousness of my new field of study. It wasn’t until several years into my degree program that I realized, “Oh man! I might be kind of good at this! This all makes sense to me! Maybe I *should* consider making this my career! Hmmmm….” It wasn’t until my senior year (which, p.s., was about 9 years after my freshman year…talk about taking the scenic route!) that I began considering pursuing an upper level degree in anthropology. I percolated on the idea for a long time. I finally graduated, and I still wasn’t committed to continuing my education in anthropology. What solidified it for me was my job. I had been working in the corporate world for almost ten years. As each day passed, I became more and more miserable.

I was bored, beaten down, and disheartened by how difficult it was to affect change at work. Despite my best efforts, there was nothing I could do to improve my situation at work (Thanks upper management, for being such soul-killers! Ugh!)….So, I decided it was time to move on. I knew corporate life was not for me. I have loved anthropology from day one, so I resolved to do what I could to make that my new path.

Here’s where Edinburgh comes into play. I had visited Europe several times in high school, and I had, what seemed, a far-fetched dream of living there some day. In searching for graduate programs to apply to, I found that most applications to European schools are free and done all online (unlike American schools which usually require an application fee [about $50] and have to be completed by sending in hard copies of all the paperwork). I figured I had nothing to lose by applying. I narrowed my search down to schools in the United Kingdom and Ireland since all classes would be in English. I narrowed further by choosing only schools that have strong cultural/social anthropology departments. (Some departments emphasize archaeology, medical anthropology, or cultural studies of certain regions of the world, e.g. South America or India.) I knew I couldn’t all my eggs in the European basket, so I decided to apply to some American schools as well. I found out I had been accepted to a school near London, and I was ecstatic. I would for sure be going to Europe. O. M. G. Amazing! However, the school in Edinburgh was my number one choice. It wasn’t until a few weeks later that I found out I had been accepted there as well! I couldn’t believe it. (Truthfully, I still can’t!)

Now, a lot people have marveled over how I have made my way here. It seems as if it’s an overwhelming amount of things to do. That’s partially true. There are a lot of things that have to be done to move overseas. Add on the fact that I have brought my two cats with me as well. That adds a whole new level of things to do. But the thing is, none of it is impossible. I got here the same way anyone reaches any goal: I decided what my dream is, and then I took it one step at a time. Add to it the fact that Google is the gift that keeps on giving, and here I am! Trust me when I say that no one is more surprised than I am. I couldn’t be more shocked by the turn my life has taken. Not to get all Wayne Dyer/Tony Robbins on you, but the cliché is on point: dreams really *do* come true, especially if you’re willing to put in the effort.

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Responses

  1. Good stuff! I’ve got this bookmarked at the top of my browser to remain with you in spirit on this fabulous journey!


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