I wanted to start this post with this panel from my very favorite comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes. Not only is it my favorite, but this panel in particular is dear to my heart because it has hung on the wall at my grandparents’ house for as long as I can remember. It ties in with the theme for this post, which is opportunity. Carpe Diem–Seize the day (and throttle it)!
The archaeology department here puts on weekly seminars where a visiting archaeologist comes and gives a talk. Today I went to my first of these, which was a talk about Stonehenge. I was sitting in the lecture theatre when suddenly I just thought, “I love this school!” How awesome is it that I can sit there and learn from archaeologists from various backgrounds and locations without leaving campus? It’s an incredible opportunity. This weekend, I will be taking a trip with the Archaeology Society to Tintagel Castle, the legendary birthplace of King Arthur! Just typing this feels like I’m telling the story of someone else’s life. But no, it’s my own! This led me to reflect on how I got to where I am today.
I’ve always been a purpose-driven person. In high school, I took as many AP classes as I could without going insane. Those seven classes got me enough credits to start college as a sophomore, which meant that I graduated in a short three years. I don’t list these to brag about my accomplishments, but to prove a point; taking the opportunities placed before you can positively impact your life in a plethora of ways. Opportunities can open the door to more opportunities.
It’s all about the choices we make, then. I often think about what my life would be like if I hadn’t chosen to go to the University of Indianapolis for my undergraduate. It was truly a life-changing experience and one of my favorite adventures in my life so far. I met lifelong friends, my future husband, learned a ton from my professors, and had numerous academic opportunities. I had the privilege of two internships, one with the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and one with the Indiana State Museum. I got to excavate and survey several sites both in Indiana and on Beaver Island in Lake Michigan. In taking Human Osteology, I got to handle human bones and study them at a fragmentary level, which has been immensely helpful in my Musculoskeletal Anatomy class here. Apparently I’m the only one who’s had prior experience with bones, which makes me extremely grateful. I got to present at a National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) conference as well as at the annual Bioarchaeology and Forensic Anthropology (BARFAA) meeting. Then for my Honors Project, I got to create and teach a program of archaeology for elementary school children. All in all, this total is staggering. None of these were things I was forced to do; they all came about due to choices I made.
I made the choice to come here, to the University of Exeter, for my masters. I’m just over a month in, and I can already tell that it was a good choice. Yeah going to a new country is scary, especially when you are leaving your family, friends, and fiancé behind for a full year. But opportunities always involve some sort of challenge or risk, and you have to get past that to reap the rewards. Nothing comes free. I’m not going to lie and say it hasn’t been hard, but then I think of my trip to the Jurassic Coast two weekends ago and my trip to Tintagel this Saturday, and I know it’s all worth it. Being surrounded by so much history…it’s an archaeologist’s dream.
I worry about all the college students out there, some who I have known personally, who have used college exclusively as a time to party and slack off. Opportunities come their way, but they ignore them because of the work it will require. Instead, I implore you to take every opportunity that comes your way, no matter the risk or challenges involved. Have dreams, and actively pursue them! Live this life you’ve been given.
Here’s to green knees,