At the beginning of my Master’s in 2013, I was lumped together with all of the anthropology students in a mandatory one-semester course creatively named “ANT1000: Introductory Master’s Workshop”. To this day, I’m not entirely sure what the purpose of that course was, although I think they tried to teach us basic research skills. What I do remember was that the theme was Spaces and Places, and we were meant to discuss different anthropological theories in this context. Our class size was about 40 – and all of them were sociocultural anthropologists except for myself and three others, who were in biological/physical/forensic anthropology. Needless to say, the four of us had very little to contribute to this conversation. To us, it sounded like the class was just discussing semantics – what is a space, and how is it different from a place?
It’s okay to be a glowstick. Sometimes we have to break before we shine.
In my previous VoR post, I spoke about my new direction with my project in Archaeology/Mathematics. The decision to change projects and forge a new path for myself took a lot of courage, and has led me on a path that truly demonstrates the ups and downs of PhD research, mentally speaking. Although the overall trajectory has been extremely positive and I am ultimately glad of my decision, there were a few hurdles that I had to overcome as a result of restarting my PhD. This blog post will reflect upon my experiences in the past year, discuss mental health in the context of academia, and why it’s sometimes necessary to break down before starting fresh.