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Hello Everyone! 

I have revived my Tumblr to find many messages asking “what do I do next” when it comes to Archaeology/Anthropology. So I thought I’d create a post explaining what I went through to get to where I am now, and hopefully give some information to those who are pondering on the next steps to take in this truly wonderful field of study. 

Quick academic about me: 

  • Undergrad: Ivy League, Major: Anthropology-Geography, Minor: Religion
  • After Undergrad: 1 year of Cultural Resource Management (CRM) & Substitute teaching
  • Graduate School: England MSc in Archaeological Information Systems
  • After Graduate: 10-month long research grant in Cambodia
  • Now: (USA)  Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology, Archaeology Track

I come from a low-middle class family, all of my academics have been funded through financial aid or through grants that I’ve applied for. A lot of the time school and research can get expensive, but that doesn’t mean you have to be wealthy to pursue it!

Per usual, please feel free to DM me at any point with questions (here or IG @ aal.archaeology), I’m always happy to help to the best of my ability. Success in this field is really dependent on networking!

I’ll set this up based on the various landmarks of my academic career: 

1. Undergrad

Themes: Ask for help, build your resume, write down everything

No matter where you are going to school, it is so so so important to use the resources around you. Becoming a professor is HARD work, and each one of your professors went through a lot to be able to stand in front of you and teach you. They’ve likely had years and years of research experience, which is probably still happening behind the scenes of teaching and grading papers. More often than not, professors want to help you, they want students to be excited about the research they’ve worked so hard on, and they want to do what they can to help you achieve your career goals. 

Therefore, if there’s a class you’ve taken or a professor whose research you’re interested in, tell them. This is how I got my first experience with archaeology (before I even knew that I wanted to do archaeology). I randomly took an Anthropology class that sounded cool, and after the first class, I was like WOW I love this topic so much and I really want to know more about it. I went up to the professor that was teaching it, told her I was really interested and asked if she knew of any research opportunities available. She then hired me as a student researcher in her lab to do data entry for one of her archaeological projects in Mesoamerica, and after working for her for a few months, she asked me if I wanted to go with her and her team to Mexico for fieldwork. 

         (my timeline at this point: 19 years old, end of Sophomore year)

From this experience, I learned how to apply to grants within the University and funding outside of the University, and was able to FULLY fund my research experience in Mexico. During this fieldwork, I got to work with 3000-year-old artifacts, do archaeoillustration, and eventually got my own chapter published in the book that my professor wrote about the research that was done.

After I got back from Mexico, I started exploring archaeology further. A new professor entered the department who specialized in “digital archaeology,” and his research involved tracking looting patters in Syria using satellite imagery. I thought this was crazy so I then went up to him and asked if I could help him with his research. (the common theme throughout this entire process is just asking for help). From this experience, I learned that I loved the possibilities that technology brought to the study of archaeology, everything from 3D modeling to identification of sites in satellite imagery to spatial mapping in GIS. With this professor, I was able to form an “internship” with him, and continued doing that and other minor projects within the department. I ended up modifying my major to incorporate coursework from the Geography department and created my own “Digital Archaeology” major.

        (my timeline at this point: 22 years old, Senior year)

As graduation began to creep closer, I had been able to get a good amount of lines on my resume. I had:

  • research assistant/ data entry
  • fieldwork in mesoamerica
  • x2 internships with digital archaeology prof
  • multiple “small” projects around the department i.e. making posters, painting 3D prints of bones,
  • all of the coursework I had done on GIS/ relevant digital experience
  • started a drone club at my school (it flopped, but it still counts as a line on the resume!)

All of these lines became useful when starting to think of jobs and the “next step”

UNDERGRAD HIGHLIGHTS & TAKEAWAYS:

  1. Ask for help, your professors are there for a reason, it will almost always lead you to new opportunities. These relationships last well beyond your graduation and definitely come in handy later, make it count!
  2. Write down EVERYTHING that you do. Did you help out with a conference? Write it down. Did you do a couple hours of data entry? Write it down.
  3. Follow your leads! I started my anth journey in Mesoamerica and ended my undergrad in Near Easter digital archaeology (and I entered college wanting to do astronomy?). Change is natural, let it happen.  

2. Gap Year Between Undergrad and Grad School

Highlights: Job applications, field school, CRM, uncertainty

Something that I was always told during my undergrad was that you really need to do a field school and some CRM to be taken seriously post-grad. This shows that you actually want to be an archaeologist outside of the classroom environment. Field Schools and CRM give you valuable experience such as: excavation methodology, report writing, grant applications, teamwork, leadership, etc. 

I started applying for jobs probably about 5 months before I graduated and ended up securing a job at a CRM company in LA. They liked how much I had done during my undergrad, but they really wanted me to have a field school under my belt before I started working for them. Because I had already graduated and didn’t need course credit, I was able to do my field school at a discounted price (these things really do get expensive, and this was a difference of about $2k). I think this worked out in my favor waiting until the summer after I graduated because it saved me a lot of money in the end. 

After my field school was done, I started work that September in CRM. This job ended up being nothing like what I thought it would be, to be honest. I was an Archaeological Field Technician that was part-time/on-call, meaning I only got work when they needed someone to go monitor a construction site. I only got work once every month, sometimes every couple of months, so I was making hardly any money. I realized this quickly and decided to become a substitute teacher to supplement the CRM job. I HIGHLY recommend doing this if you end up in the same situation. Not only does subbing fill up all of your non-working days, but it also gives you the flexibility to choose when you can work and gives you teaching experience that you can put on your resume. That CRM experience can be really important, so it’s good to stick it out long enough to quit.

      Why didn’t I like CRM? For me, my job was very sparse, included driving long hours to a construction site, sitting there all day in case archaeological material popped up, and then driving home. Sometimes it was just walking back and forth across a massive field full of cow poop looking for arrowheads, and often it felt like I was just clearing land so that a big building could be erected. I was really missing the research component to all of it. The pay was also not great. 

GAP YEAR HIGHLIGHTS AND TAKEAWAYS:

What I got from this year was very valuable, even though it wasn’t necessarily that fun, however. 

  • I got the experience I needed in CRM
  • I got some teaching experience (also volunteered to mentor clubs and research at local high schools during this time)
  • I started doing some networking (I found some alumni that were doing work that I wanted to be doing and reached out to them)
  • and most importantly, I realized that I really do love school and wanted to go back for my Masters

So I started looking into Masters’s programs. This is kind of a scary thing especially in the US because school is expensive. I still really wanted to do Digital Archaeology, and I couldn’t find a single program in the US had a focus in this topic, and especially couldn’t find one that I was willing to pay for. 

The UK, however, had plenty of Digital Archaeology programs, and the programs were only a year long and a fraction of the price in the US. I decided to take a chance and apply, got in, and then suddenly I was moving to England. (in hindsight I really didn’t spend much time at all making this decision, but it worked out in the end). 

3. Masters Program

         (my timeline at this point: 23-24 years old)

I chose the program I applied to based on its focus on the techniques that I wanted to use, namely, remote sensing, GIS, and 3D modeling. I really wanted a degree qualification that spoke for itself, and therefore applied for an MSc in “Archaeological Information Systems.” 

I had done some networking during my gap year and connected with an alumnus who was doing research in Cambodia using digital methods, and she offered me the opportunity to join her fieldwork. I agreed to join her in Cambodia during my degree, and also applied for a research grant for the year following my master’s degree to continue fieldwork in Cambodia. 

I used this opportunity to fuel my dissertation topic and focused all of my writing and coursework throughout my grad school experience around Cambodia. While I was surrounded by people studying Roman architecture and Medieval Studies, I spent my time doing independent work and building a network in Cambodia. 

This program was a great experience for the most part, I was surrounded by beautiful medieval architecture and had a great community throughout. I personally didn’t really like the UK school system compared to what I had received in the US, however. This was largely because of the way coursework was set up. (If you want to know more just DM me).

MASTERS HIGHLIGHTS AND TAKEAWAYS:

  • Follow networking opportunities, and find someone doing what you want to do (or close to it) and let them help you take the steps to get there
  • If you’re going to do grad school, do it in something you know you love. Don’t waste money on a program that isn’t right for you.
  • Make sure that the program you apply to allows for flexibility so that you can do research on what YOU want, not what THEY want.

Halfway through my Master’s degree, I received word that I had been accepted for the research grant (Fulbright) and would spend the next year living in Cambodia doing independent research.

4. Gap Year Between Masters Program and PhD

If you’re planning on a Ph.D., I think its a really good idea to do something before applying that relates to what you want to be studying. This shows that you’re dedicated to your research and to a life in academia, and have the ability to produce something from your work. 

My master’s degree was nice because 1) it was short, only a year-long, and 2) allowed me to focus research on what I was interested in. This gave me the experience I needed to lead into a year of independent research.

This year of independent research was definitely contingent on receiving the grant in the first place, and I think that I would have started job searching again had I not received it. However, the small things I did leading up to applying for it really helped in qualifying me to receive it. 

     I had:

  • All of the undergraduate research experience
  • CRM experience
  • teaching experience
  • fieldwork experience
  • a master’s degree that focused on the region 
  • established a network of people in the country beforehand
  • a couple “publications” from fieldwork 

This grant fully funds me living in Cambodia, and has allowed me to participate in cultural exchange with some amazing people here in addition to allowing me to partake in archaeological fieldwork across the country. 

Again, I cannot stress enough how important it is to network. If you like something, find someone else who likes the same thing, send them an email.

Networking got me my experience in Mesoamerica, Digital Archaeology, my CRM job, my research experience in Cambodia, and so so much more. All because I sent that first email.

5. PhD Applications

I applied to 1 school. I got in. Its a really good school. I’m still in shock. 

However, I think I really did set myself up for success in this one. 


The biggest advice I can give in the world of Academia is:

  1. NETWORK
    1. Talking to people who have gone through what you’re going through are the BEST help. They can mentor you through these experiences, offer you new opportunities, or lead you in the direction of someone else who can help.
  1. PLAN AHEAD (but be open to change)
    1. Okay, so you’re applying to grad school. What do you want to focus on while you’re there? What do you want to do with the degree when you’re done? Do you want to start working? Do you want to do more research? What opportunities are out there for research funding? What is the job market looking for? Is there anyone in my network that can help me get there?
    2. None of these have to be concrete plans, they just have to exist in some shape or form so that you have the ability to latch on to one when the opportunity arises.

If you’re doing something that you love doing, you’ll find a way to make it happen. All opportunity comes from the amount of effort you put into getting it!

Thanks for reading and best of luck on your studies!

Also Happy Anthropology Day! :) 

-Lyss 

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I needed to finish up the editing to my thesis. I usually didn’t like to be in the open area of school when doing this, but the term was over, and summer had begun which left the building quite empty.

I wore a light summer dress just in case I would go out afterwards in celebration of my finishing the paper. I found all the seats along the outside wall on the second floor empty and settled on the end of the row. I have always liked those seats because they are larger and comfy. They were also paired, facing each other with a small table in the middle.

I sat down and got my laptop out. I lost myself in my paper. I was enjoying it! When I finished editing my paper I looked up and realized that a few hours had passed. The sun was still shining but I knew there was just a couple hours of good light left.

I thought about going for a walk or perhaps just going straight for a drink. As I sat there contemplating, one of my classmates appeared in the building. I saw him walking around wearing a shirt and shorts. It looked like he was on his way to handing in something – he seemed in a hurry. I saw him come back around a few moments later. He saw me and walked over.

“Hey!” he exclaimed as he approached. “How are things?”

“Good! I just finished my initial edits.”

“Awesome! Congratulations!” He stepped forward and gave me a high five. That’s when I noticed he was quite sweaty. “Oh, sorry for the sweat. I was out playing basketball when I remembered I had to literally hand in an assignment today. I raced home, tried to drink an energy drink and spilled it on myself. So, I changed into my comfy shorts and ran here.”

I was laughing out loud. “Well, hey, at least you handed it in on time.”

“Yeah. But now I still need to check online for a couple things. Just to make sure it’s all done.”

“Here,” I offered, “just use my laptop.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah. I’ll go through my notes while you check on things.”

“Thanks!”

He sat down in the chair opposite me and I noticed his shorts didn’t hide too much. I spun the laptop toward him. I glanced again, and his cock and balls were pressed against the lining of the right side of his shorts.

In one swift moment I realized an attractive male friend sat across from me, his body sweaty and emitting an intoxicating odor, his beautiful package pressed against his shorts, and I was becoming rather horny.

I sat back in my chair. But as I did, I shifted in my seat, so the hem of my summer dress rose higher and higher. I crossed my right leg over my left and angled myself to the left, exposing more of my leg. I set the notes on the left arm of my chair and rested my elbow on the chair, my hand holding my head. I kept my head angled so I could glance over at him.

His cock had grown. I honestly don’t think he knew I could see as much as I did. He just seemed to concentrate on his work and my exposed leg. I nonchalantly moved by right hand to my exposed flesh, pretending to scratch the outer side of my right leg, and then that itch on the back of my leg. That moved the hem of my dress up even further, exposing more of my leg.

His cock grew even more. I could tell that we were having an impact on each other. He moved forward in his seat and swiveled his hips getting comfortable. His near-erect cock strained to stay inside his shorts. I still didn’t think that he knew how revealing his shorts were at the time.

But I started to crave more. I sunk further into the seat and pushed out my right hip. My right ass cheek was now exposed. I playfully caressed my right hip and delved further inside. I felt my panties and I inhaled quickly as I realized he could see them. I looked, and the head of his cock peered out.

Typically, I would say that a cock is a cock is a cock, and if it’s healthy and at least average size, then everything would be fine. But seeing his beautiful cock peek out made me salivate. I was intoxicated by my friend, his sweaty body, and his manhood peeking out.

He suddenly closed the laptop. “Thanks”

“Everything turned in?” I asked, my head resting on my left arm.

“Yeah. Thank goodness.” He looked at my leg and said, “now I can enjoy the rest of summer.”

I raised my head, gave a devilish grin, slapped my hip and said, “Hey, what do you have in mind?” His eyes darted back to mine and then blushed with embarrassment. I gave a nod to his still growing cock and said, “Oh, I see.”

He looked down and nearly yelled, “Oh, shit!” He put both hands over his groin and sunk into the chair. “I’m so sorry.”

“It’s okay,” I said. “To be honest, the stress of the term, the summer heat, and having an attractive sweaty guy in front of me with a nice cock has made me really fucking horny.”

I looked around and no one was there. Fuck it, I thought, we’re graduating soon. I stood up, lifted my dress, lowered my panties, put them in my bag, sat down and opened my legs. He looked around as I slid forward in my seat opened my legs even wider, and I revealed my wet pussy to him. “Lick it,” I commanded.

He stood up, his cock strained against his shorts. He picked up the table to move it behind his chair, knelt between my legs, and leaned in for his meal.

He started by tasting my outer lips which were already open. His tongue started low, lower than most even care to venture, and slid up one side, over my aching clitoris, and down the other side. He then sucked my clitoris, gently, pulling with his lips as his tongue rolled over it.

He flicked my clit with his tongue as he slid a finger inside, curling it to hit my g-spot. I started cumming and my juices flowed, covering his mouth and chin.

I pulled his head up to me, and we kissed for the first time as I tasted myself on his lips. We each grabbed his shorts and pushed them down exposing his hardened tool. I immediately tried to put it all in my mouth. I tasted his precum when he grabbed my head and pulled away from me.

I looked up at him and he said, “I’m going to cum soon and I want to be inside you, to feel you.” I nearly came again to his words. I leaned back and opened myself. He guided himself in.

I couldn’t believe how good he felt. I don’t know if it was because I was so horny, that he was a friend, or his fantastic cock, but I came again, squeezing him.

We kissed, deeply, and then we looked into each other’s eyes. His hands were on the arms of the chair, propping him up as his hips thrust me into the chair. I put my hands in his arms and felt the tight muscles. He started to give the familiar face of a man cumming soon.

Realizing he didn’t have a condom on, I said between deep breaths, “Not in my pussy.”

He kept thrusting as he huskily asked, “Where?”

“My ass?”

His eyes lit up. He slipped out of me and took a step back, his cock glistening from my juices. I got up, turned around, and knelt in the chair. He lifted my dress exposing my puckered hole. He took two fingers, grabbed natural lube from his mouth, and smeared my anus, circling the rim. He grabbed my hip with one hand and guided his cock with the other.

I felt the familiar bump against my back hole. I took a deep breath and let it out, allowing all the tension in my body to go. His cockhead entered. He spit some more lube onto himself and then entered another inch. He receded and entered several times, allowing the lubricant to spread and my body to accept him.

He continued this until his entire cock was inside. We both sighed at the same time, “Oh, fuck.”

Slowly at first, he slid in and out of my ass. And then he grabbed my hips and fucked me. Hard. I steadied myself with one hand and reached down to rub my clit with the other.

His grunts and my moans became louder and louder. I don’t think either of us cared in that moment if a student, professor, or even a Dean caught us. We needed this. We needed each other. In that moment.

He grunted, “I’m going to cum.”

“Me too,” I said, “ cum in my ass.”

He pulled on my hips as he thrust himself to me, his cock being sucked in by me, my ass clenching as I came, milking his manhood. I could feel him inject me with his warm seed.

As soon as we came, we looked around and were glad to see no one there. I looked over my shoulder and we both said, “bathroom.” He pulled out and we both squeezed our body parts as we hobbled to the bathrooms.

I obviously took a little longer “freshening up.” When I exited the bathroom, I saw him wiping down our chairs. As I walked closer, he looked up and said, “I just felt like it was the proper thing to do.”

For some reason, that moment of thoughtfulness after fucking me in the ass endeared me to him even more than before. I smiled at him.

“So,” he started to say something but couldn’t think of the words. We both started laughing and shook our heads. He finally said, using a more somber tone, “How long are you around for?”

“About a month and then my lease is up. I defend next week. You?”

“Congratulations! That’s awesome! I’m still deciding between coasts. I’ve got three months left on my lease, so I have a little bit of time to decide. And it’s nice because I can just go directly from here to whichever direction I decide.”

We both studied the situation for a moment, trying to guess what’s on the other’s mind. He finally broke the silence. “Look, you are my friend and I don’t want to jeopardize that. I’ve always been attracted to you. After your lease is up, if you want to move in with me for a couple months and see how things go, you are more than welcome. If nothing else, it will answer that question I think we now both have. And we can live the rest of our lives without regretting what could have been.”

He looked at me and I simply stood there. I replied, “How about we go get a drink and chat for a while.” He seemed a little disappointed as we gathered out things. Before we set out, I put a hand on his shoulder and said, “Hey, a lady should let all of the cum exit her body before making a decision.”

I laughed heartily and he just shook his head and said, “So gross.”

“That’s one of the traits you like about me. Admit it”

He looked at me and smiled.

Buy my book here.

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“I can’t do Emotion Algebra, [redacted name]!” said by [redacted name] in my RODBT group.

Everyone then agreed that Emotion Algebra needed to be a thing and someone should write a PhD dissertation on it. 

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As I was reading for my economics class the topic was the economics of healthcare in America. It basically said American healthcare is so high because Americans makes shitty lifestyle choices. Then I got to thinking about all my shitty choices I made 😂😂😂😂😂😂.

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Been really busy with Digital Humanities work because I picked up extra hours on another professor’s project. I even get credited! 

With all of that done, it’s time to get back to 18th century Queer Theory. Here are this weeks readings and my short Restoration Comedy notes. 

Last semester I had to read two novels a week, so shifting gears to plays and poetry makes me so happy. This class is so close to my area of interest too. 

I’m really enjoying this class for it’s content and rigor. It’s just the atmosphere I need to become a better academic.

kaaistudies
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// February 17, 2020 // 

HEY IM BACK LOL

I’ve been uh busy been I wanna post more so here is a mostly candid shot of some friends and I studying. As a quick update, I got a new job working at a residential mental health treatment center for kiddos and I’ve enjoyed it so far (about 1.5 months in). Grad school is rough but this semester is easier to manage… Missed all of yal!!!!



Instagram: @ily-studies

ily-studies
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Here’s some things that I thought were good to remember over the course of applying to graduate school. This is by no means exhaustive, but these are a few things that I’d like to underline. Disclaimer that this is specifically based on my experiences with the humanities, though I think there are some things that are universally applicable.

  • Research as early as you can

My earliest deadline was December 1, 2019 and my latest was January 17, 2020. I was applying for a Fall 2020 start.

It’s worth it to get started with research as soon as you think that that grad school is the thing for you. For one, it helps you decide a little more concretely whether grad school is the thing for you and it may also help you decide what exactly you want to keep doing. I started looking at schools a little bit during the spring of my senior year, and I had my final list completed in the summer.

It’s not a disaster if you don’t have your list together this early! My friend was still looking into schools in November and December as she was applying to others - it was just a little more stressful.

  • Ask your professors!!!!

I cannot recommend this highly enough. If you have a good relationship with a professor or professors in your undergrad department, make good use of them. It’s pretty likely they’ll know people in departments you’re applying to - or at the very least they’ll know of them. Because of this, they’ll be able to confirm concerns about department funding, department feel, and suitability of professors. Will they know everything? No. But they’ll definitely help you out.

ex: my adviser told me not to apply to a certain school because she knew they were having funding issues. A different professor told me ‘look at this school because it seems like it had good opportunities for you’ and now it’s one of my top choices.

  • List what you like

Once you know that a department appeals to you, write down what you like. Make a list. Put down just words. Make little jokes. It doesn’t matter - you just want to have some way to remind yourself about what exactly appealed to you about the school. This will help you so much when you end up writing your personal statements.

  • Don’t send your GRE where it isn’t wanted!

This is more a money saver than anything, which is important, because it’s 27$ per score and that’s a lot, especially if you’re applying to a lot of places. Look as carefully as you can - one school I applied to had it in bold that they didn’t want it, but another, I didn’t notice that it wasn’t wanted until I had submitted the app (oops).

  • Communicate with your recommenders!

It is extremely helpful if you send your recommenders a list of your schools and the deadlines for each one.

I would also say that if it’s two days before and you don’t see that letter of rec in the application, it is time to start thinking about giving a poke. I’d say if you email them about it, make it 24 hours notice, but you could also email them a little sooner if it’s stressing you out. One of my recommenders typically sent her letters in the day of, with hours to go and I almost lost my mind. But she always sent them in and typically had them written prior to that.

Be! Sure! To! Thank! Them!

  • Give yourself time to do the application

This includes making sure you have your writing samples, your transcripts, and your statements of purpose all together. Sometimes you may have to provide official transcripts, which can take a little while to send.

For me, applications didn’t open until August 2019 at the absolute earliest. So I couldn’t fill them out in the summer when I had the most time, but I was able to get the documents I had to upload in order and that made me less stressed later on. My statements just needed a few tweaks, my writing sample was well proofed, and my CV had gone through several revisions.

  • Have someone else look at your statement of purpose

You want it to make sense to someone who isn’t you and it’s often nice to get outside feedback on things like this, especially by people who know what to look for. I wasn’t a huge fan of letting other people see how I laid out my hopes and dreams, but all three of my recommenders asked me for my statement of purpose, so I had to get over that. I also had my friend look at mine and I looked over hers. It was nice to see another example and get feedback.

  • Make your peace with waiting

In the third week of January, other people were hearing back, but I hadn’t heard anything at all and I thought I wasn’t going to get into grad school and that my future was ruined. This is partially down to my anxiety, but it’s not a particularly fun time for anyone. I told my parents that I just wanted to hear one piece of news and my mom was like ‘no. that’s still asking too much’. And really, it kind of is. This is an incredibly opaque process and you will hear when you hear. Some schools put tentative dates on their websites for when they send out acceptances/rejections. Some do not. There is no great way to know for sure and unfortunately I doubt that’s going to change any time soon.

So what’s to be done? If you haven’t already, start thinking about what you could do instead. Look at jobs, look at abroad programs, look at anything that you think you would be reasonably willing to follow through with. For example, up to the moment I was accepted to a school, I was about to reapply to the teaching program I’m currently doing. It was really scary to think about not getting in, because grad school was all I really had planned for the future. Take away some of that fear, make a backup plan.

  • Figure out how you feel about rejections

I was lucky to get accepted to a school before I received my first rejection. That being said, I have been rejected from several places, including a school that I thought was my top choice at the beginning of the process.

My feelings over rejection have varied from: oh thank god [realized that school wasn’t super for me a while after i submitted the app] to aw this sucks [two schools that I thought looked good] and anywhere in between. Rejections kind of just are what they are and may come for a variety of reasons - maybe they didn’t have funding, maybe a professor is retiring, etc. It’s not a direct reflection on you, even if you may feel like that’s the case.

It really sucks not getting in, but you can’t over-fixate on them. Give yourself adequate time to mourn that application, but don’t let it drag you down.

  • Remember to hope

That first acceptance will feel so good. This statement comes from not only me, but at least 3 of my cousins who also continued their studies after undergrad.

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Hey I’m thinking of doing a museum studies masters but I’m scared to apply cos idk what I’d do my thesis on lol, do you have any tips for choosing a topic/getting inspo?

Hi! So I chose a program that didn’t require a thesis and I opted not to do one. But I did have to do something so I ended up doing a big, several semester long internship project involving several mini projects instead. So I may not be the best person to give you advice about a thesis. 

The one piece of advice I can offer you is to choose a topic you’re passionate about because you’re going to spend a lot of time on it. My friends all did a thesis and sometimes it was the fact that they loved the subject that kept them going when it became too stressful. I kind of always wanted to write a thesis that focused on something like the Women’s Army Corps in WWII or something about the role of women during the American Revolution because those are subjects I am passionate about and would have loved to explore deeper. That passion will also help you when presenting it and such. So is there an area of history you are really interested in that you’d like an opportunity to explore more? Or something about museums that fascinates you? In terms of museum studies specifically, think about things where you’ve though “huh that’s kinda weird” or “that’s different, I wonder why that is?” and there might be a subject in there somewhere for you to write about. Maybe there’s a cataloging or conservation technique that interests you? Repatriation and NAGPRA? The increased role of technology in museums? How museums use social media to market themselves? What about diversity and inclusion?

Think about things that interest you, questions you have, something you’d love to look deeper into. You should be able to find a subject somewhere in there. And advisers are there to help you as well. They can help you narrow the field and find something for you to research.

Maybe my followers can give you some more/better advice? I don’t really have any experience with thesis.

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