A batch of sunflowers volunteered in the flowerpot by our front door, and I feel very much like this bloom. I’m not yet fully formed, but I’m on my way.
It’s been a meandering journey so far, from disillusionment with the advertising industry to something like hope in literature and history, to something even more like hope in anthropology and archaeology.
When I was little, before Kindergarten even, I was totally into dinosaurs. So much so that my mom taught me how to spell “paleontologist,” which became my childhood parlor trick because it’s pretty impressive to grown-ups when a four-year-old can spell “paleontologist.” I stayed interested in paleontology for a very long time. Six- and seven- and eight-year-old me was pretty sure I was going to be a paleontologist when I grew up.
However, seeing people hanging down the side of a cliff at Dinosaur National Monument scared nine-year-old me into a change of plans. Then, years of malaise-era secondary school science education did its best to kill off any remaining thrill of discovery. Even though I was interested in science in high school, and often chose science electives, I struggled to achieve passing grades in them. I kind of just wanted to learn the stuff, not be tested on it. I went on to an education and career in the liberal arts.
And now here I am, seeking opportunities to be tested in science. Speaking of which, my finals went well, I’m holding my 4.0 GPA and passed the online Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology course with a score of 96%. And my new fall classes seem to be off to an almost leisurely start after the compressed pace of summer school.
In a way, I’ve come full circle back to my childhood goal of studying the past. And now I’m less afraid of technical climbing, even if heights still give me the willies.
Earlier this week I had a great Zoom conference with one of my professors during virtual office hours, and he answered a lot of questions I had about the archaeology program. For instance, there’s still no word on when the college will be allowed to offer the Field Excavation class, which of course has to be on-site and hands-on. But, the Certificate in Archaeology program changed from a departmental award to a college award, so now it’ll go on my academic transcript! I also got encouraging insights into the current and future job market in cultural resource management.
So, after peering down various paths, I’m unfurling, class by class, down this one.