Bad Blogger

Posted: August 21, 2011 in anthropology, School Daze

It’s been quite a while since my last post.  There are many reasons for this, but first and foremost, it’s because I’ve been extremely lazy for the last few months after my spring semester.  For regular readers of my blog, you probably know that I was overloaded last semester by a professor, who is nicknamed Dr. Diesel, and her course on Anthropology of American Culture, in addition to all the other stuff I was taking at the time.

I survived that semester, and I did it with straight As, a feat I wasn’t even sure was going to be possible towards the end of the school year. I still wonder how I pulled that off!  So many writing assignments, and not to mention, I read so many pages that I feel like by the end I had read the entirety of the Wheel of time from Eye of the World all the way to Towers of Midnight in 4 months.  I felt burned out on the last day of the semester, and it was decreed by me that I deserved a real break, not just a couple of weeks between summer semesters.

I should have considered how things were going before such a decree. This has certainly not been the best year of my life. With our economy in the proverbial shitter, I have been unable to find a job in the area where I live. I’ve spent the whole summer until the beginning of August looking for a job, because until then, I wasn’t even sure if this Fall’s back to school would even happen.   My previous advisor, one Nicaraguan Terrorist, had previously told me that I would be able to take summer semesters and finish my degree in December.  When it came time to register, my entire department had fled to do research and there were no upper-level electives available. So, graduation now occurs in May 2012. Thanks asshole, learn to do your job better. We have a new advisor now. Here’s hoping she knows how to do her job and actually READ the student’s transcript to know where they stand.

Those of you who know me personally know about this already, but at the end of April during the night of tornadoes in northern Georgia, 4 of my cousins were killed in a single swoop.  A major tragedy in my family. I can’t recall any event in my history that was as saddening and heartbreaking as getting the news that they had been killed all together, wiping an entire branch off the family tree at once, and due to final exams, I had to send my mom and sister up to the funerals without me.

I should have considered that an omen of the summer.  I spent the next few months applying for countless jobs, and of all of them, I had one interview.   We spent the whole summer being poor again. I barely had enough money to get by without school.  Then came the news that I had reached my credit hour limit and I wouldn’t be getting student loans. For a couple of months, I found it impossible to sleep as I tried to devise ways to pay for the remainder of my education.  That situation has been successfully resolved, some idiot in financial aid nearly gave me a heart attack, but it turned out to be an error and I was not blocked from financial aid after all.  I can finish my degree without problems (I hope) now.

A month ago, my beloved cat, Legion, vanished into the night. He has been an everyday part of my life for 8 years, and to say that I was inconsolable was an understatement.  For anyone who has a pet, they are like family, and their disappearance can be devastating. Combine his sudden disappearance with a severe sinus infection and you get a recipe for misery and sadness.  I can honestly say I’m glad to see the ass-end of Summer, it has been a real shit storm of epic proportions in some ways.

I had resolved to work on my first novel this summer, but due to illness and undue stress, those plans were never realized fully. I did manage to work out a partial draft of my first chapter, and I have an outline that will take me through to the third or fourth chapter.  I also nailed down some details that will be needed later, when I can actually write this story, but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen until after Graduation in May.

It is now the Sunday before school starts for the Fall semester.  I’m looking forward to this semester with both anticipation and trepidation:  I’m retaking a course from last year that I absolutely hated and had to drop, Theories of Culture (the Anthropology senior seminar) as well as my methodology course in Forensic Science. I’ve been considering changing my concentration away from cultural anthropology to biological anthropology and forensics.  While there are many reasons for this proposed change, the most important is marketability. When graduation occurs in May, I need to be able to go out and find a job.  All the honors graduations in the world don’t mean jack shit if your degree is not applicable to the job market. And while I expect to graduate with honors, I’d like to be able to actually find employment, and the way to do that is most likely through forensics.  I will make my decision to shift concentrations at the end of the semester, after I see how well I do in this methods course.  Hard sciences have not really been my friend in the past, but I was emboldened by my success in Physical Anthropology to consider this as a possible career choice.

My other two courses this term are electives.  One is from the cultural tract, an up-close, in-depth look at the Caribbean.  The other is Museum Informatics, a course about how museum information is disseminated to the public.  In the digital age, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have a background in digital archiving if I ever want to work for a museum (a long time dream I’ve had).  As long as they aren’t as exhausting as Anthropology Of American culture, I should be okay. I do still expect this to be a tough semester, I have my two electives sandwiched between my dreaded Theories in the morning and my methods course in the later part of the day.  I’m hoping the setup helps, but I probably will be tired by the time I sit down to Forensics at 3:30 in the afternoon after having had 3 other classes immediately prior.  My schedule is a six hour block of back to back to back to back classes every tuesday and thursday with a scant 10 – 15 minutes between them.  Did I mention that for the first 3 classes of the day I’m in the same room?  Yeah.  At least I do not have the professor from last Fall that I absolutely despised.

This is my last year.  I’m determined to finish my degree with honors (I’ve worked this hard to be in the top 7% of my class, I might as well keep it up) but already the specter of Graduate School is beginning to loom over me.   I’m currently debating 3 potential Master’s programs, one at USF, one at UF and strangely enough, one at the University of Aberdeen in Aberdeen, Scotland (probably a pipe dream, but it doesn’t hurt to dream).  That decision is still 5 months away at least.

This school year, being my last, I’m going to attempt to blog after every single day of class. So for those of you who are counting, that means at least 2 blogs per week.  Of course, this might have to be amended due to workload, but I’m setting it as my goal. By publishing it for the world to see, I hope to force myself to actually do it.  Good luck to me, I’m going to need it.

Finally, I’d like to offer an Anthropology major’s prayer:

Oh great lord of education, may you help me write all the papers, survive all the defunct theories and memorize every bone in the human body.  May I continue to maintain my GPA while not being distracted by everything going on around me and may I continue to ignore the students in my courses who appear so very young and so very dumb.  I pray that, as a Senior, I may reach my graduation without committing murder. Amen. 

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