Last semester I graduated – I know, me! The girl who was determined to continue her studies straight after graduating high school. But the problem was that I had no idea what I wanted to do, I didn’t have a particular dream. I was scared, so scared, of failing! I began with physics, which I found interesting (during high school I had profiled my studies towards the natural sciences and astronomy). What I realized though was that while I found it very interesting to read about new discoveries in space and things like that, I was less interested in all the math and physics that was behind those discoveries. So, I dropped out.
Next up was journalism, something that I loved. Or well, I mean I loved writing. Reading theory about journalistic history, wasn’t all that fun. But I think that my main problem here was that I didn’t really know what I wanted, I didn’t have a goal with my studies. Sure, it would’ve been fun to write for a highly respected paper of some sort, but that was it. I didn’t know whether I wanted to focus on sports, culture, investigative journalism and well, that sort of put a crimp in my determination and motivation for studying. Plus! I was bad at studying. I wasn’t all that disciplined and I just gave up too easily. And while thinking that a subject is fun, can take you a long way, it’s good to have a goal too.
After failing courses and falling behind so much with my journalism studies, I gave up. I had basically no way of getting accepted into the third (and last) year after having fallen behind so much. And while I started thinking here that I needed some time off to think (which a lot of kids here do for about a year after high school) I didn’t. Instead I ended up applying to a more technical (and again more natural science related) subject: data programming. And while this was fun too and interesting, I realized quickly that the pace in which I had to learn math-related stuff was making it super-hard for me to pass my courses; just like it had been during my year of physics.
So! Reaching this point I realized that I wanted some time off, I wanted to have job instead. And maybe do some writing on the side. But getting a job, proved to be that much harder than I’d expected. So for a few months I didn’t really do much besides applying for jobs, getting some interviews but never getting a job. I took a barista course and ended up getting a ”every-other-weekend-job” but that spring, I realized that I needed some kind of education. So what was I supposed to study this time?
Academia felt like this thing that was of high value in my family, at least that’s what it felt like back then and I just felt like a failure. Why couldn’t I find something that I wanted to do? Sometimes my parents were like ”stick with this now, if you really want something, you can do it” and while that might be true sometimes, the problem was that I didn’t want the things I’d done before. I knew that I was coming off like a spoiled brat of some sort that never found anything I wanted, never thought that studying was fun and always ended up bailing in the end. But believe me, I didn’t want to. I really, really wanted to succeed with something.
But the question remained – how?
I thought about studying something child-education-related, but by a streak of luck I read a book by Jodi Picoult (one of my favorite fiction writers) called ”Picture Perfect”. And in a way, I guess it changed my life. Maybe not in a drastic and dramatic kind of way, but it did change things and I’m grateful for that. Through this book I was introduced to anthropology. The main character in the book is an anthropologist and I thought that ”wow, her job sounds fun”. For those of you who are familiar with the TV show (one of my favorites) ”Bones”, you get the picture. The main character was focused on archaeological anthropology, which means dig sites and bones. For some reason, that stuck with me and when it was time to apply to courses or programs at the university I saw that they had a program in social anthropology. I applied to that and a child-education-related program and was wait-listed on both, but in the end I got accepted to the social anthropology program and all of a sudden I found something that was really interesting to study.
Of course, it wasn’t always easy and it wasn’t always fun. But I found myself thinking about different jobs that I wanted and even about becoming a scientist.
And now, it’s three years later and I have a bachelor’s degree in social anthropology. Somehow I’m surprised that I ended up here. I didn’t think I would, not really. Least of all with a degree in a subject that I knew nothing about a little over three years ago.
The downside though is that anthropology isn’t widely known here in Sweden, so even after graduating this spring, I haven’t found a job so far. And sure, that might take some time but seeing as I didn’t want to sit around trying to apply for jobs all day long, I decided that maybe it would be easier to be seen as attractive on the job market if I had more than ”just” a bachelor’s.
SO. Here I am, a master student. Whoa, I know. So, don’t give up, alright? If I could do it, you could too (and yes, I know that sounds very cliché).
So how is life as a master student you might ask.
Well, it’s quite overwhelming and you’d think that after three years of previous experience in this discipline, it would be quite easy or at least not so intense. But it is! Trust me. Right now I can’t wait until spring when we get to choose among courses to read, that’ll be at least one of the highlights of these two upcoming years. I’m a little…maybe disappointed (although that sounds kind of harsh), it’s just that I thought that we would be offered more profiled courses throughout these two years, instead of just one semester this spring. I’d love to profile myself within anthropology; seeing as social anthropology is such a broad subject/field. Within it are a lot of sub-subjects(?), pretty much everything that you could relate to society, but hopefully it’ll be okay in the end and that I’ll find a way to profile myself within the discipline anyway.
What are you guys up to this fall?