anthropology: the drug.

This week marks another milestone in my master’s program: the last week of classes. One class ended last week with a series of presentations, but for the other 3, this will be the last time I meet in a class setting for my master’s degree. Tomorrow, in particular, is the last time we meet in a core class that everyone in my course is required to take, so it’s like the last hurrah: the last time we all come together to learn.

It’s by no means over. We still have essays to write, research to do, dissertations to bind and hand in. I will still see professors and classmates, just not all together. I remember during orientation for postgraduates last September they told us this year would fly by. I knew it would, of course; I expected nothing less. But I don’t think I anticipated what I’d do when I started to feel ‘the end’ creeping toward me.

Coming to England meant everything to me. I won’t re-hash. I don’t need to. And I knew it wouldn’t last forever, job or no job. But the days of living in the moment, of not thinking ahead, are now over. I’m a chronic worrier. To say I have anxiety is an understatement. I feed off anxiety. That this is a different kind of anxiety, a different kind of stress, than what I used to suffer from ought to make me feel better, but it doesn’t. The truth is, I don’t know how to cope with any of this being over. I can only anticipate how it will feel, to know how much it has hurt before and wonder if it will hurt more or less this time. To chase your happiness, to own it, to lose it. I’m terrified.

Anthropology has done so much for me. I’d write a love letter, but I wouldn’t know where to start. When I think of all the other programs I researched before I decided on this one, I can’t imagine what I was thinking. Fate or some cosmic force, whatever it is, led me to this place at this time and it’s done its best to heal me. I’ve immersed myself as much as I can in the discipline in the timeframe I’ve been given, and now my life is irrevocably changed. It’s quite simple to think of continuing it, to make the funding applications, to do the PhD. But then I wonder if I’ll feel that way once I’ve been removed from it for a couple of years, which is what I will do because I know it’s what is best for me. Anthropology is an addiction. I’ve felt so at home in a subject I barely knew anything about this time last year. A friend once told me, to paraphrase, that anthropology gets into you and you can’t let it go. That’s how I feel. It’s not the textbook knowledge, the lectures. It’s a point of view, an understanding of humans and our humanity that colours every aspect of your life. No matter where I go next, I will carry all I’ve learned with  me.

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