It really is difficult to believe that we are already coming to the end of 2017. There has been plenty of negative things about this year but there have also been enough positive things that have kept me from losing my spirit. There are several amazing things that I have been a part of this year but also some things that I need to continue to work on to better myself. I could tally off every good and bad event that happened this year, but with one or two exceptions I just want to take this blog post to review all of the amazing things 2017 had to offer.
2017: Grad Classes
I started off this year feeling like a complete failure. It marked the end of my first semester in graduate school and the feedback I received from one particular professor made me question my ability to continue. I felt really down, but I decided once the new semester started that I would make it my goal to be better and not let someone’s opinion of my abilities hold me down. I got through that set of courses with little to no hiccups along the way, plus I got to get to know an amazing professor who is now on my thesis committee. Who knew I’d pick up statistics so easily?! The Fall presented another set of challenges with classes. I will say that it was fairly difficult to get through it and to be honest I still haven’t looked at my grades because frankly, I don’t care about my grades anymore. In the grand scheme of things, grades don’t matter and that is something I’m trying to remind myself constantly or else this grad school thing just feels worse.
On top of a generally good classroom experience, I also presented my first single author conference poster at a major national conference. Yeah, it was just a poster, but it was still awesome! This conference was held in Vancouver, CA and I had such an amazing time. I got to hang out with my friends and professors from my current institution and I also had an opportunity to catch up with some old friends from my alma mater and meet new people.
2017 Research Assistantship
I’d say one of the brightest highlights of my year was being offered the opportunity to work with an amazing professor/researcher on her archaeological project in Montana. This was such a drastic change from what I had to go through in my first semester of graduate school, being offered no funding and no acknowledgement of existence in the department when faculty would pat themselves on the back for funding “everyone”. The beginning of 2017 changed that. This professor saw an opportunity to work with me given my skill sets and brought me on to her team. Ever since I feel like I’m part of a great supportive family in this big academic world, a world where it is easy to feel isolated and frankly, forgotten.
Before 2017 I had never done any work outside of the U.S. Southwest doing archaeological field work. I always thought that I would stay in the SW throughout my academic career not just because of how much I love the region, but also because of how much time commitment I had already placed in it and connections I had made. My research assistantship however has changed many of my regional goals and potentially my long term research. My field work experience in Montana, within Blackfeet/Pikuni Country and East Glacier, has stimulated my academic interests in ways I have yet to experience. I feel excited again about archaeology. Not that I wasn’t excited before, but prior to this experience I started feeling the weight of the SW on my back as it is saturated by archaeologists who stake their claim on sites/sub-regions/time periods/material culture. It gets a bit frustrating to try to find your place in all of that. All of the possibilities that presented themselves to me in Montana truly livened my spirit and it continues to do so with more and more potential for work/research coming up.
Through all of these amazing things that have come from my research assistantship the best has to be the fact that I now have an amazing, intelligent, and supportive woman as my boss/professor/committee member/future advisor. Not only has she brought me on to her research family (really some of the most amazing people I’ve had the privilege of getting to know), but she has also helped me through a number of academic and personal trails I have gone through since being in graduate school. She basically goes above and beyond as an advisor. I was worried about what would happen once my current advisor retires after my MA is finished. I was worried that I’d work with someone who was either uninterested in what my research is or not experienced enough in the type of research I do. Now I don’t have to worry about any of that. I now have a supportive, interested, and experienced professor to advise me for my dissertation. This isn’t something many people get in their advisors, so I’m very fortunate and thankful.
Cat!~ I also got a cat… that is all.
Things I want to change in 2018
Just three things… let’s keep it simple and doable.
One big thing I want to change in the coming year is my attitude. I realized recently that my attitude has been really poor this year and it doesn’t make me feel good when I express this in front of people and don’t stop until it’s too late. I need to stop being so negative towards myself and other people. Just let out good vibes and don’t let the little things bother me.
Another thing I’d like to change is the way I physically present myself. I have been slacking on caring about my appearance and I really want to fix that. In the past and even currently I have never been one to care about what others think about my clothing choices or hairstyle, and I still don’t really care. However since I have now entered a more professional world I want to present myself as a professional and dress like I put some effort into my look.
As you may have noticed, all of my highlights are school/work related. I want to change that in 2018 and expand my social circle and get some hobbies outside of the university. I miss having things to look forward to that aren’t work related and I have somehow let this academic world take over my life. So next year, make more friends and reconnect/nurture old friendships.
That’s it. I hope to be able to write more on here some day (I know I say this in almost every post). I’m hoping to get back into some photography. Maybe in the next post I’ll have some new photos!
Thanks for reading!