Finals Week and One More Step Toward Making it Real

Finals week
Finals week turned into finals day, but it all worked out fine. I think.

I’m done with finals! I had planned to sit Biological Anthropology Friday and Cultural Anthropology Saturday, but my studying took longer than expected and by the time I was done it was time to get dinner on. That pushed both three-hour finals onto Saturday, which made for a looong day sitting at the computer. I frankly hadn’t expected them to take as long as they did, but I was sweating them both!

My studying paid off, though, and I feel good about both exams despite already knowing that I got a few answers wrong on each. I think I’ll finish well in both classes.

And, I had an awesome experience last week with the counselor at San Diego City College!

Lemme back up a bit. I’d been trying to snag a one-hour online academic counseling session for a couple weeks, and I’d started to wonder if the appointment system was down or if academic counseling sessions were actually happening. So I switched to booking a “quick counseling” session, designed for 20-minute quick answers and assistance. Success! Yay! But now what?

I drew up my list of questions that could qualify as “quick:”

  1. Are academic counseling sessions happening?
  2. Can I work toward a certificate in archaeology before being enrolled officially as an anthropology major?
  3. How will my bachelor’s degree affect the process of earning a certificate in archaeology?

I also had a longer question, which was whether I could earn an associate’s degree in anthropology and what it would take, because I think it might be helpful in job-hunting.

I had a little trouble with the Zoom meeting because the auto-generated conference invite email didn’t include the password, but I reached out to the counselor directly and she sent the code. A few minutes later, I was in!

Turns out that academic sessions are happening, but they’re super hard to get and book up instantly. So persistence is the key there.

City College’s certificate in archaeology is awarded by the anthropology department, so I need file an award request upon finishing all the required classes. It’s not an official certification program (like, say, nursing), so it doesn’t show up as part of my student record.

As for my existing BA in communications, it doesn’t affect my eligibility for anything. In fact, my counselor went ahead and registered me as an anthropology major, working toward an associate’s degree! (And there’s my longer question answered!) The AA in anthro requires a few extra classes, one of which I just completed (Biological Anthro) and the other of which is a statistics class, which I’m sure will come in handy so I’m already looking forward to that. And, she said that my 35-year-old BA would probably cover all the other general education and elective requirements for the AA, but that would depend on my college transcript from Cal State Fullerton being evaluated.

The one wrinkle, is that I had my college transcript sent to the wrong office (the City College counseling office instead of the district records office). No worries; if needed I’ll just order another transcript to be sent to the right address!

It was a fantastic experience; people are working so hard to keep things moving in this time of pandemic, and I was very, very grateful to her for spending the time with me to get me entered into the system with the bones of an academic plan!

The next step is developing an official, counselor-approved education plan, which has to wait until my transcript is evaluated, which, in these extraordinary times, could take a few months. But I basically have until grad check time to get that completed.

Unofficially, my action plan is clear, and I’ll be working steadily toward the goal of completing the program by Fall 2021. The only hitch in my giddyup is that it’s impossible to say right now when the archaeology field class will be offered, and that’s a requirement.

But, in the meantime, thanks to a great counselor I can say that I’m working toward an AA in anthropology and a certificate in archaeology at City College, with an eye toward getting a job in cultural resources management!

This goal feels much more real than the idea of a master’s in literature, partly because I’ve already started down the path toward making it a reality and partly because the job goal itself seems more realistic.

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