A lot of people have asked what my dissertation is on. I’ve decided I might as well give an idea here. Rather than procrastinating, the more I talk about my dissertation, the more it actually helps me to sort through a minefield of research and concepts to create a clearer outline. I reckon in that sense, this post is actually a bit selfish!
It’s been over 5 months now, so not only am I almost halfway into the second semester, but I’m also almost halfway through my year-long master’s program here at the University of Manchester.
I haven’t done the best job documenting my time here, preferring to tweet inane comments about the weather, about football, about drinking cheap Pinot Grigio by the bottle. It’s hard for me to believe that by this time in Brighton, I was preparing to leave in a month, whereas in Manchester I still have so much to do.
So, grad school. It’s dominated my life the past few weeks as I’ve scrambled to finish my coursework for the first semester. Now that all my essays are handed in, I’ve had time to reflect on it, and I wanted to share a few thoughts:
They say “start as you mean to go on.” An apt phrase for the start of a new year, but never quite accurate. After all, don’t many of us spend New Year’s Day hungover and eating all manner of bad food? Therefore, I find it best not to attach too much significance to the date. As I said in my last post, I don’t make resolutions. In the past, I’ve thought of the academic year more than the calendar year, and I prefer to use my birthday (31 October) to think of what I’ve “accomplished” in the intervening months.
That’s not to say there isn’t some value to setting a beginning and an end to a year using the traditional calendar year. Even people who have no intention of keeping a New Year’s resolution make them. It can be symbolic, or at least a starting off point. With that in mind, I do plan to do my best to make 2012 a memorable one.
Most of this year will revolve around obtaining my master’s degree, and that is where I’d like to focus this post. Ever since I decided I wanted to study anthropology, I’ve gotten a lot of mixed responses, mostly confused and/or blank expressions. What is anthropology, and why am I studying it?