Friday, March 24, 2006

An Easy Semester... but what's next?

This semester I'm only taking one course: Quantitative Methods for Anthropological Research.

It's not really an Anthropology course (in spite of its name)-- it is a Statistics course. Dr. David Abbott, an experienced archaeologist and more recently a professor at ASU, has put together a course that wastes no time on theory. Instead, he is presenting us with increasingly complex and useful tools to solve practical problems encountered in the real world.

The textbook, Statistics for the Social Sciences, is rife with errors. In spite of the fact that it is a newly-issued third edition, there are more errors in the problems sets/answers than I can count.

Fortunately, I've been able to get through the material presented by Dr. Abbott quite well without paying too much attention to the text.

What's Next?

I've been struggling with the direction I should take, and now my time of decision is upon me (pre-registration opened yesterday). Should I continue on toward the B.A. (which means taking 4 semesters of Spanish, and about 12 additional hours of Liberal Arts coursework), or simply take all the undergraduate Anthro requirements and start applying to Graduate School?

If I stay the course for the B.A., it forces me to take courses that are expedient, rather than the ones I really want to take (e.g. I'm likely to take Disease and Human Evolution instead of Fossil Hominids for one of my Physical Anthropology courses because the Liberal Arts College says I need a "Bridge" course).

If I instead change my focus and work toward Grad School acceptance, it would free me to take courses I'm passionate about, and put more energy into finding good undergraduate research opportunities. This option has some problems, of course.

I'm still committed to remaining in the Phoenix area until June 2009, so my only option for graduate school is Arizona State. Sure, I'm getting to know the professors, and letters of recommendation mean a lot, but if I apply and I'm not accepted, I'm out of options (other than continuing to plod through the B.A. program).

Back to the present...

The Fall 2006 Schedule just came out, and there are NO Anthropology classes that fit well into my schedule. My two best options are ASB 337, Prehispanic Civilizations of Middle America, and ASM 341, Human Osteology Lab. Both of them will cause me to leave work in the middle of the day multiple times each week, and I'll need to make up the hours.

Things would certainly get better if I could just hit the lottery...

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