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.