Catching Up – With Myself

Pic: My three cats, at various stages of napping through the holidays. Riled (the top), trying to recover from too many late nights (he gets upset if we’re not in bed by 10pm). Ribbit (the middle), stealing the warmth of my computer (she loathes the cold).  Rocket (the bottom), enjoying the nest I made for him with various blankets and sweaters (he’s super cuddly, whether it’s with us or a blanket nest).

Oh boy, it’s been a while since I’ve written any blog post.  I’ve been so busy since my last post (about dislocations, FYI) that I haven’t had a chance to sit down and write!  But, I suppose the one good thing about that is that now as I catch myself (and my readers) up with what’s been going on in my life it will sound like I live a really exciting life.  And I suppose, to some extent, I can certainly view my life as exciting right now.  I’ve wanted to pursue a Master’s degree for so long and since that’s exactly what I’m doing right now, I really can’t complain about anything.  Even though this semester is going to be insanely busy and I don’t know where I’ll have the time to do anything other than read, write, read some more, and write some more.

A large part of why I started this blog is to share my experiences as an early career professional and student with other early career professionals and students.  Or those things of pursuing either of those things.  To offer something relatable to what you’re experiencing, or to give you an idea of what you might experience.  So I decided to take a moment this morning to catch myself up on what exactly I’ve been spending my time on over the past month and a bit.  It’s kind of like finding your wallet empty and wondering what you spent your money on (I’m a starving student – I know that feeling all too well).  This will also offer a glimpse into the life of a student of archaeology, for those of you what it’s like.  Keep in mind, though, that everyone’s experiences will be different (as they should be, cookie cutters are only good for cookies).  But here’s a little snapshot of student life for you anyway.

Alright, starting from when I wrote my last post, which I believe was at the end of November:

  • I finished my first semester as a Masters student
  • I basically wrapped up all the research I’ve been working on over the past 4 months into a nice, coherent summary
    • I won’t tell you too much about it because I’m hoping to present it at the Canadian Archaeological Association’s annual conference in May (all of those interested in Canadian archaeology should definitely be there).  Little spoiler to whet your appetite: the beads I’ll be talking about have never been found in British Columbia before I found them (yay for being the first!) and have likely never been found in Canada before (because they’ve never been reported)
  • My supervisor, who has been interested in the beads since I first uttered the magical words of, “extremely rare in archaeological contexts”, became even more interested in them when I sent him my research summary.  We’re now (tentatively) planning on doing some more work at the site this summer
  • I went back to Ottawa for the holidays
    • My in-laws came to town for a week for a lovely visit.  We had a lot of fun, good food, good wine/beer, and good Star Wars watching (Rogue One was amazing!)
    • Some really close friends came and spent Christmas/New Years with us.  Again, we had a lot of fun, good food, and good wine!  One friend has Celiac Disease so we went gluten-free (for legitimate reasons, not hipster reasons).  I didn’t kill him, so I guess our gluten-free cooking was a success!
    • And in between and within these visits, I spent a lot of time playing video games, watching movies, and overall thoroughly enjoying my time with the hubby and the cats will simultaneously ignoring everything to do with school
  • I volunteered at the Archaeological Institute of America’s conference in Toronto at the beginning of January.  It was almost entirely a Classics focus, so not at all related to the work I do.  But it brought together some good friends/colleagues from sARP (shishalh Archaeological Research Project), who were also volunteering/in town for the conference so I ended up having a great time.  They also included a small session on the archaeology of Toronto, which was super interesting.
  • The second semester of my Master’s degree started.  And boy is it going to be busy.  The one downfall of U of Toronto (for those considering U of T) is that there is a really high course requirement for students.  And I get that it’s supposed to help us learn more and develop better research skills through learning applicable information, but that doesn’t change the fact that when I have 1 year (I’m in a 1-year program because the 2nd year option isn’t funded) to get my research done and thesis written, having to take 5 or 6 courses on top of that is a little intense.  This semester I have 4 courses I’m taking, and one that I’m TAing (teaching assistant).  Needless to say, I’m glad I got a significant amount of research finished last semester.
  • I’ve been invited to be a contributor to a new blog, launching in February.  I can’t give out too many details right now, a) because I don’t know all the details, and b) I think it’s good to hold off until the blog actually launches.  What I can say is that it’s archaeology-related (specifically Canadian archaeology), and with an organization I’m already a member of.  So I’m really excited to become more involved with this organization, and to continue networking and getting my name out there (because I’m allowed to be selfish about this)!  Once it launches I’ll be sure to mention it on here!

So that’s where I’m at, as of January 11, 2017.  Looking ahead I’ve got a lot of work to do so I might be a little bit quiet, but I’ll write when I have the chance.  Already my readings for my classes have inspired a lot of interesting thoughts.  Mostly because I’m taking an intense theory course and that’s what theory does – it makes you think.  So hopefully I’ll have a chance to incorporate my learnings here to share with you!  Happy January to you all!

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