Anthropology (A Guest Post)

Note: Katelin is a college sophomore in the State University of New York (SUNY) system. She has volunteered to provide occasional posts that offer insight into the college experience, which most of your correspondents here can only remember fondly with wistful looks upon our faces. Here, then, is Katelin’s first report from college. We appreciate her sharing it.

I’m a Cultural Anthropology major.  This means I spend my days studying culture, learned behavior, and people.  It wasn’t a hard choice.  Since I was young, I’ve been fascinated by people.  I like patterns.  I like knowing why.  And I like talking about it.  My friends and family are constantly subjected to intricate descriptions about the behavior of those around me, and my insights into what I think the reasoning behind it is.  So, after a few weeks of Anthropology 100, when I realized that I could be the kind of person who did this for a living, I was instantly enamored with the idea.  I took my time, but by the beginning of second semester, I gave up my title of Undeclared (or as I referred to it all of first semester FUNdeclared) and registered as an Anthropology major.  I haven’t regretted it for a second.

When meeting any college student for the first time, most people will immediately ask them what their major is.  Anthropology inspires an extremely diverse list of responses, and for the most part, I respond with a smile and a nod.  Sometimes they are positive.  Sometimes they are blank stares.  This is fine, as I understand that without studying it, many do not have a clear definition of what exactly Anthropology is.  However, I have also gotten some very strange, funny and inappropriate responses as well.  Here are some of them:

  • “That’s cool.  I’ve always wanted to study dinosaurs.”
  • “Oh, so you’re gonna be like Bones?”
  • “I took a class on that once.  Anthropology and Physiology.”
  • “You must be intelligent, because I don’t know what that means.”
  • “I know someone who majored in Anthropology.  They’re currently unemployed.”
  • “Interesting.  Good luck with finding a job after college.”
  • “Nice.  I wish I could have a major like that. Physics is a lot of work.”

Through these interactions, I have noted that many people have no problem critiquing one’s choice of major.  I am often warned that I might have trouble finding a job after college with an Anthropology degree.  I’ve also noted the self-established hierarchy within majors.  Many Science and Math majors see themselves as martyrs, fighting through massive amounts of homework, so that others don’t have to.  The Business majors pride themselves on forward thinking.  Theater and Art are disregarded.  Everyone else just thinks they’re better than the English majors, except the Philosophy majors, and that’s only because the English majors are fun to smoke with.  So, when it comes down to it, I don’t mind the criticism at all.  It’s just one more pattern of behavior I get to obsess over.

5 thoughts on “Anthropology (A Guest Post)

  1. Who knew that the obsession over groups of 3 and groups of 5 would turn into a career. I think it is a perfect discipline for you. Do what you love. Love what you do. Love you.

  2. I am taking a Cultural Anthropology course right now. At first I thought I would want to minor in Anthropology because I am an extremely analytical person, I later realized that it is not for me, but I’m glad someone out there is going to pursue it. It’s a fascinating career choice, and I wish you the best of luck. Check out my blog if you will.

    Susan Theodore

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