school’s out for ever!

Or at least for the next 9 weeks, although I do have a final on Monday (dirt class) so I’m not out of the woods yet. But almost!

This week was the last week of actual classes though and I turned in a 12 page paper on Wednesday, so I am 98% done! And so relieved. Although I am also slightly bummed to be finished with my Wednesday class. It was a ton of work and I complained a lot, but I really, really enjoyed the class. Our final meeting, we turned in our papers and then talked about the class, how it went for everyone, things we liked, things we didn’t like, books he should keep, books he should drop. It was just a wonderful way to end the class. You could just tell that everyone really liked and respected the professor and I believe he actually liked and respected us as well. I’m not sure I’ll have a chance to take another class with him, but if that option presents itself, even with all the work, I’d do it in a heartbeat. He was the sort of professor that makes me want to teach and that might have contributed to my being bummed, since that chapter is now (at least temporarily) closed in my life.

I’ll also miss the dirt class, my two dirt professors were pretty great as well and Idefinitely told them that while they were helping to guide my future.

This was probably the best semster of college that I’ve ever had. And I’ve had a lot. I typically have one class that is anywhere from okay-great and one class that is anywhere from horrid-okay. Having two great classes really spoiled me.

I get 9 longs weeks of summer though! I haven’t had more than 3 weeks off from class since 2010! I don’t know what I will do with myself (lies: I will paint and garden and cook and read and sleep and work out). It typically takes me about a week after classes end to get used to not being in class, to stop freaking out that I am forgetting to do something, and by that time break is either half over or totally over. Minus my week of confusion, that still leaves me 8 weeks! In which I have to do that whole getting married thing and stuff but still!

And this might even be my last summer of classes ever! EVER! (I say might because my future career path is still undetermined so who knows if I’ll need a class or two, but until I know that….LAST SUMMER OF CLASSES EVER!)

Hooraaaaaaaaaaay!

oh yea. after getting no grades back all semester, got these on the last day of class. boom. #toosmartforundergrad

I only got my midterm back in my dirt class (A) and as of Wednesday had gotten zero grades back in my Seminar but then he handed these to us on our way out the door. I have a good feeling about this.

quarter life crisis part two: the resolution

continued from quarter life crisis part one. 

 

So I was having doubts for my career path for the first time in my life. What else could I possibly do with my life? I don’t want to be in my current job forever. While the pay is okay, comparatively it’s pretty terrible. I get lots of days off per year which is a huge perk and I’m not exactly miserable there but I am not mentally stimulated…at all. There is also no real way for me to be promoted and there surely isn’t any sort of merit-based raise. I absolutely could not continue on there for the next 30 years. My department is also slowly shrinking and probably won’t even exist in 30 years.

So I can’t stay in my current job, I am having major doubts about my potential future job…time for some soul-searching. And soul-searching I did. For two or three weeks I drove myself crazy imagining different scenarios. Anthropology is pretty broad, maybe I could just use it as a spring board and head into Human Resources or something. I could potentially be an Archeologist if I got some experience, but I don’t think there is much work in SW PA and as I have mentioned time and again, I AM NEVER MOVING AGAIN. I believe I’ve mentioned I’m taking a Soils and Archaeology class this semester, which I fondly refer to as dirt class. Through my soul searching, I kept coming back to the class…maybe I could do something related to that…

I have two professors for the class and they are not traditional professors. One is a Soil Scientist, the other a Cultural Resource Manager and they teach this class, and only this class, once a year. Both of their jobs sound really cool. In different ways, they both consult on projects for large development companies and agencies (like PennDOT) before they put in a roadway or a bridge to make sure that when they disturb the land, they are not disturbing any archaeological finds. And if there are archeological finds, they make sure that they are protected. I might be a giant nerd, but it sounds really fascinating.

After I kept coming back to it, I decided I couldn’t make a decision without getting more information, so I emailed both of my professors and my advisor. And then I felt sick. I asked the professors if we could meet (informally) and talk a bit about their careers and I asked my advisor if he had any other contacts and if this sounded like a terrible idea. They were all very encouraging and we set up times to meet.

I met with one of my professors last week and he provided me with lots of encouraging information. My advisor put me into contact with a graduate student who had done CRM work and I met with her also. I am meeting with my other professor tonight. The graduate student was also very encouraging and gave me lots of great advice. But the best part about meeting with both of them was the fact that it was so obvious that they love what they do. It is so rare these days to see someone so passionate and excited about their work and whenever I see that, it is contagious. I want to love my job, I want to be passionate about my work. Can I be passionate about your job and your work?

My only hesitation about going into this type of field is the travel involved. I am a homebody. I love my house. I love being home with Keith and Daisy. I’m not sure I could handle being away for short or extended periods of time. The graduate student I met with did tell me about some other options I would have that would be less mobile.

The best part of this is I don’t have to change my major or anything, it is still Anthropology. I don’t have to take stupid classes that I care nothing about (Economics, Political Science) in order to get into the School of Education. I was looking at summer classes to see what I could take instead of the stupid Econ and PS I am signed up for and there is a GIS (Geographic Information Systems – think Google Maps) class that I can take this summer, and a Cultural Resource Management class I can take in the fall. I don’t really believe in signs, but I’m taking it as a sign that these classes are offered at times that work perfectly with my schedule.

I also could potentially graduate a semester early on this new path, but I’ve decided to take only one summer class and give myself a much needed break. So now instead of having summer classes from May 6-August 10, I will have class from June 23-August 2. Every time I think of this, I become almost giddy. I will have all of May, almost all of June and most of August to myself! Just work! I can finish up wedding stuff without losing my mind! I can paint the rest of my house! I can maybe plant a garden and probably have time to water the plants!

It feels a little weird having decided not to go through with the education thing. Just the other day, after having made my decision, I was thinking about something and thought how I could incorporate that into my classroom. Oh, wait. I’m not having a classroom.

But once again I am excited and energized and though I wish I had known about this career path a bit earlier so I could have taken more Archaeology/Geology classes and less Cultural Anthropology classes, but at least I figured it out before I had already graduated, and wasted time and money pursuing something else.

So that’s where I am not. Teaching’s out…some sort of Cultural Resource Management/Geomorphology/Archaeology/Playing in the dirt is in. Eeeeeek.

quarter life crisis, part one

I used to call it a 1/5 life crisis since I will live until 106. But the closer I get to 30…the less that math works.

When I was 7 years old in Mrs. Defife’s first grade classroom, I remember coming to the realization that I wanted to be a teacher. I was not yet in the gifted program *humble brag* so I would sit in class bored out of my mind. I remember thinking, “If this was my classroom I would xyz.” (Such a critical child!) After a while of thinking that I realized, “Hey! I can have a classroom! I can do things my way.” And so it was decided.

I went through several more years of schooling, through elementary school, through middle school, still holding onto this desire. I was always a great student, and though I wasn’t always a teacher’s pet, sometimes I was and sometimes I was merely close. Then 9th grade happened. I started to hate school. There was a particular group of 10th grade boys who were mostly responsible for this new phenomenon. I also started working and that on top of honors classes *humble brag* sprinkled with your usual teenage angst and I was done. I wasn’t going to college, screw becoming a teacher, I’ll just go and live in a forest.

Then 10th grade. I think that was one of my favorite years of school. I had a really stellar cast of teachers. Shoutout to Mr. Morris, Mr. O, Mr. Deliere, Mrs. Shoberg and Mrs. Berry. Mrs. Berry was everything I ever wanted to be. She was incredibly kind, funny, smart, sassy, everyone adored her. I had her for Astro/Geo and don’t remember so much of what we learned but I do remember all the awesome, hands-on projects we did. My faith was renewed, I was going to be Mrs. Berry.

Tenth grade came and went, 11th grade offered up some more wonderful teachers and senior year had another amazing crop. Back in the wanna-be-a-teacher groove, I spent more time observing teachers and seeing who I wanted to emulate and who I found useless. I also decided that I wanted to teach high school since those were the teachers who had the greatest impact on me.

I started at Pitt in 2004 as a Pre-Education major. They didn’t (and don’t) have a Secondary Education major so I was informed to just major in the subject I wanted to teach and then attend the 5th year (ha!) Education program. So I started as a Psychology major. Bo-ring. Sophomore year I switched to Spanish. Ay dios mio, my Spanish will never be good enough. What was left that wouldn’t require taking Calculus or O-Chem? History.

Keith can’t believe I would ever choose History as a major, I am very much not a history buff. I’d give you some examples but I would just embarrass myself. The History major is pretty particular with you needing these exact ~10 classes, no substitutions. I got a few classes in and realized it was not the major for me. I had no desire to take any more stupid history classes. Give me classed about Latin America! Give me History of Pittsburgh! Give me anything but stupid Colonial American drivel.

Having exhausted all my other options, I remembered Anthropology. That’s history-ish? But way more entertaining? I could major in it and teach Social Studies? Sounds good! I had taken (and enjoyed) a few Anthro classes in the past, so I wasn’t going in totally blind. I also loved that the major had 3 must-take classes and then you could pick and choose for your other 7. Much more pleasant than the rigidity of the History major.

So I switched and I’ve been trucking along since. I have really enjoyed all of my Anthro classes. I am on track to graduate next year so I decided to finally bite the bullet and meet with someone from the School of Education. I had been stalking their website and knew that I was on the right track with the stupid pre-reqs but I just figured it was high time to talk things out.

And what a bummer of a meeting it was. The guy I met with was great, he answered (almost) all of my questions and assured me that I was on the correct path but talking to him about my future career path did not excite me…at all. I walked out of the meeting full of doubt. Doubt that I could get into the program, doubt that I would enjoy the program, doubt that I would be able to find a job once I graduated. This was a new feeling. I had known since I was 7 *SEVEN* what I wanted to do…I had spent so long working toward it and now…this?

…to be continued.

 

penultimate spring semester

Here we are, second week of classes and I finally have my schedule straightened out.

I am taking Soils and Archaeology on Monday nights and Anthropology of Emotion on Wednesday nights. Monday’s class is at 6pm, which gives me that ~2 hour break between work and class that I love/hate, but Wednesday’s class is at 4:30 which means I have to fly from work to Oakland, park and walk ~6 blocks to class. In 30 minutes. Luckily my professor has a class that runs until 4:15 so class is never going to start early.

I had my first Soils class on Monday and while it is probably the geekiest class I have ever taken, I think I’m really going to like it! The professor is not a typical professor, she’s a soil scientist and has a business and just teaches this class once a year. There are only 10 other people in it, and in the middle of class we have Cookie Time. Halfway through class, someone pulls out cookies and passes them around and we chat for a few minutes. Even though I probably won’t be partaking in the cookies, this is pretty much the greatest thing ever. But yea, other than that, gonna learn a lot about rocks and dirt and I can’t wait. I think the class will probably be a bit easier work-wise but might be a bit tougher since it will be pretty technical.

My other class is Anthropology of Emotion and that professor was a breath of fresh air on Wednesday compared to the Pickle Juice Lover. I just felt very calm the entire class. Definitely made the right choice switching. It’s going to be a lot of work, but the professor seemed very laid back so I don’t fear for my grade like I did in the other one.

We did a really cool icebreaker last Wednesday after we discussed the syllabus. Icebreakers are literally my least favorite thing about life, and when he stated “After we come back from break, we are going to do collaborative improvization,” my heart seized up and I almost died. All I know about improv is from drama class and I did not want to do any “yes and”ing. Luckily, this was totally different and really neat.

We all went around and threw out a word, which the professor wrote on the board. There were words like “clouds”, “crying,” “cats,” “bagels,” “chain-link-fence,” (it was supposed to be one word but some of us forgot), “orca-whales,” and others. Then I threw out “online-dating.”

We then went around and voted on what we wanted to write about. It got down to “crying” vs “online-dating” but mine won! Ha.

So then we took 20 minutes and wrote a piece and titled it. There were no rules to what we wrote, it just had to somehow relate to online dating.

Once the time was up, we went around and read our titles. Some of those included “Must Love Dogs,” “BF,” “Uneeta Lyfe,” “What if she’s a dude?,” etc.

Then we just shouted out what order they should go in, and then read our stories in that order, allowing them to form a long form story. Apparently you then go through and edit them to make it flow even better, but we didn’t get that far. It was a lot of fun and gave a little peek, if not to who the person was, their writing style/sense of humor/tone. It was also a lot less nerve-wracking to spend 20 minutes planning out what I wanted to say to these strangers and not have it be about me.

For posterity, I’ve included my section of the story, since I thought it was a fun excercise and though my story had a rough start, I was proud of the last few lines.

 

Must Love Dogs

I wrote a paper on online dating last year and one of the most intersting anecdotes I pulled up was that the creator of match.com’s girlfriend left him for someone she met there. She may even have married him. The story without context seems a little sensational, but in reality when he began the site – he encouraged everyone he knew to join – even his girlfriend. The fact that she actually used the site, rather than simply creating a profile is telling, and he is probably better off without her. Is online dating the greatest thing to ever happy in the history of courting, or the worst? It probably depends which half of that couple you ask. Or really, it depends on the experience of whichever person you are asking. There are definite plusses and minuses. It is another avenue in this busy, non-stop world of ours to attempt to connect to another person. It can also be a cautionary tale of psychos, perverts and mail-order brides. Like anything, you have to be smart about it and weigh the pros and cons. Is the chance to meet the love of your life worth accidentally going on a date with your dad? Maybe.

class-y.

Yesterday, I was able to register for my penultimate (!!) spring semester. Since I now have a slightly better work schedule, my options were a little more open than they have been in the past 3 years. My ideal class would be 4:45 – 7:15, giving me enough time to eat something before class (but not an excess of time) and getting me home not super later. Alas, that class time only exists in my mind. But! I could look at 4:30 classes!

I was going back and forth between two different options but ultimately settled on:

The Portuguese Empire (I need a World History course)

Anthropology of Memory (Writing Intensive)

I’ll have class Monday, 4:30-5:45 and 6:00-8:30 and then on Wednesday just 4:30-5:45. I am a little nervous about the double dose of class on Monday, ((almost 4 hours of class!) and when can I eat dinner?!) but kind of excited to see what a 2x a week class feels like again. I also love the fact that I will get home by 6:30 or so on Wednesdays.

Another option I had was to take the 6:00-8:30 class on Mondays and a 4:30-6:55 class on Wednesdays, but those were both seminars (one writing intensive) and I thought that might kill me. A little bummed to not get to take that class though. It was Anthropology of Emotion and the professor had great reviews. It’s also a Special Topics class which means it’s offered very infrequently.

Choosing classes is getting a little tough. After the upcoming Spring semster, I only have 6 classes left. And I unfortunately have 4 specific classes I need to take, in addition to 2 additional Anthropology classes. So gone are the days of having 13 classes to choose from, now it’s pretty much pray that what I need is offered when I can take it.

The end is in sight, you guys.

(I started at Pitt in 2004 and went until 2006. Then one semester off turned into 2, turned into 3 years off. Now this is my 3rd year back, part-time and I am so ready for it to be over. As much as I do enjoy school (I know, nerd), I miss being able to come home from work and do nothing. Instead it’s anxiety and guilt about what I need to do/what I should be doing.

Now I just need to figure out what I’m doing after my undergrad. The long-term plan has always been the School of Education. I have an email in to meet with someone from there and discuss options. I don’t know how much more schooling I can take, but I also know a degree in Anthropology is not going to get me far in Pittsburgh.)