One Does Not Simply…Write About Anthropology

My Time as a Graduate Student

Why Go to Grad School?

on January 11, 2013

Same reason to go to college, to get a degree to find a good job. The working sector of life has become more challenging and nowadays a simple Bachelor’s Degree is not enough in most fields. But that is not the sole reason why I chose to go get my Master Degree. I enjoy anthropology and I enjoy sharing the knowledge that I have gained through the course of my studies, and yes it will give me a greater advantage to have a Master’s when applying for jobs. I have been to many conference and I have enjoyed being able to teach others of my research and thus pushing me to get a higher degree to be able to teach.

But grad school is not for everyone because it is more expensive than a Bachelor’s and more work, at least in Anthropology. The only thing that I have going good for me was as an undergrad my professors pushed us and gave us a lot of readings and theory at an almost graduate level. And I am very grateful for that experience because it has prepared me for the challenges that I have faced as a grad student. Although it may not be for everyone, it is worth exploring. I didn’t want to be working at pools, teaching swim lessons, etc for the rest of my life. I already had about 10 years of that under my belt and although I have many certifications for that field of work, it wasn’t my passion. What I did gain, however, was the teaching skills. I am an American Red Cross Instructor for Lifeguard Training, swim lessons, CPR, Babysitting, etc. as well as an instructor trainer to teach individuals who to become instructors. With those skills I have gotten practice speaking in front of people as well as teaching. But I still seem to get nervous a lil when I am talking about anthropology (probably because people actually know what I am talking about). Nonetheless, those skills have served me well.

As I have stated before I have a passion for learning and although a lot can be learned on one’s own, I would have never thought about looking into the other subdisciplines of anthropology like biological anthropology. And I have been working with two others whom I went to undergrad with I have been able to bring my experiences to our ongoing research project.

Overall going to grad school has benefited me, I have been trying to incorporate my research into the courses that I can. And even if I can’t, I still find ways to study more in depth what interests me in that particular subject.

When looking for a grad school, however, be sure to look at the credentials of the professors and of the school.  It is still who know and networking that can help get into a program. I had some help from a former professor at UWF who was interested in my work that I have done and still doing, as well as former professors from UMW that have gotten me to the place where I am today. I still go back and ask for guidance and help, there is no shame in being reminded or guided to the right path. And always look for jobs or opportunities that would benefit you as well, like conferences. Conferences may seem scary because other scholars of anthropology are there, but it is important to keep in mind that they know what you are going through because they were in the same place as you once. And it can also provide with good feedback and constructive criticism for research, that you may never have thought about before.

My hope is to be able to finish my degree by December 2013 and find a job that is teaching. I have been looking into community colleges, adjunct positions, and possible teaching positions within the military (cultural awareness classes or such) something of that manner.

That is my 2 cents on the matter…

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