As I sit here, with a cough and talking to my friend, I realize that at some point after I finish my degree, I need a break.
I need a break because things have been really hectic lately and I feel like, in small ways, my physical and mental health have not been where they should be. I don’t think I’m in a position to complain, because I’m still pretty healthy (overall) but I am worried about where this might take me.
In our conversation, my friend reminded me that what I’m doing is not what we are taught to do. Traditionally, anthropologists went alone and did research; away from their “home”. In my case, I’m doing research at “home” while also working as a graduate assistant. While this might be normal in a lot of disciplines, I don’t think my discipline prepared me to cope with it; anthropology pushed me to find funding and not do anything (work) at “home” while conducting it.
I didn’t notice this issue earlier, because I’ve just been used to it for a while now. Also, funding has been scarce and I’ve simply been doing what I can to avoid paying the high cost of tuition and, most importantly, graduate. So far, my strategy of working as a GA on campus while also doing research is paying off; honestly, it was the best case scenario after continuously getting rejection emails for funding.
I also know that I’m not the only one in this situation. Other classmates are doing what they can to do their research and survive. I know some of us have more advantages than others, and somehow that’s ok. I’ve been working hard, and gone through a lot of challenges that have delayed my “dream graduation date”, but at least I have found funding through a graduate assistantship. But when will I get to enjoy one of those coveted grants?
I’m still engaged in discussions as to what resources are necessary for students like me: English as a second language, student of color, queer, etc. But I would also like to engage in discussions as to how the anthropology degree should adapt to the realities of funding nowadays.
Now, let me return to nursing myself back to health, ’cause my health needs me of late.