(July 3, 2021)—During the fall of 2019, I felt very indecisive about my future career path. I was a rising junior majoring in History at Howard University, unsure of what I was going to do with my undergrad degree. Originally, I majored in History to pursue law, but after taking a rigorous Pre-Law Writing class at Howard, I decided that law did not enlighten me the way I thought it might. In high school, I was praised by my teachers for my excellent writing skills, so my counselors and my family thought law or journalism would be the right field for me.
In the College of Arts in Sciences at Howard University, every student is required to take at least one Classics course. I tried my hardest to sign up for a Classical Mythology course that I had heard great reviews about, but I got stuck in a Classical Art class instead. What I thought was an unfortunate circumstance ended up being what guided me toward the field of archaeology. I was really interested in how works of art could be easily dated i just by observing the materials used and matching them to whatever styles were common in a certain period of time.
My professor was an archaeologist herself, and her lively and passionate lectures about ancient art drew me to her office hours frequently to find out more about her profession. I still wasn’t sure about archaeology, but she advised me to do more research and reach out to her if I had more questions.
That following summer, in the midst of the pandemic, I had plenty of time to research and determine whether I wanted to take my interest any further. I found out that the first step on the track to becoming a full-time archaeologist would be to find a field school to gain experience. I then started to research field schools, and stumbled upon Archaeology Southwest’s 2021 Preservation Archaeology Field School.
Knowing nothing about the Archaeology world and only one archaeologist, I was unaware how renowned University of Arizona’s archaeology department was. I was searching for field schools far and abroad, and it turned out one of the best ones was based only a 3-hour drive away from my hometown—Phoenix, Arizona.
I had applied very hastily before the deadline and thought there would be several, more suitable applicants with more experience. But I grew up learning from my parents that “the worst they can say is no,” so I applied anyway and was ecstatic when I was accepted into the program. I still worried that I would be far behind the other students since I had never even taken an archaeology course. But, as usual, my worries did not come into fruition because the field school is a new experience for everyone, and we are all learning at the same pace.
So far, I have been really enjoying this field school. I really like the excavation process because I get to see so many interesting artifacts and the work is very rewarding. I also feel so lucky to get to see so many cool places like the Hawikku and Chaco Canyon.
It was also a blessing to meet several renowned archaeologists via lectures. I know that I enjoy the work we are doing, but I am still not sure about what branch of archaeology I want to pursue. I have heard interesting things about bioarchaeology, ethnohistory, and archaeological journalism, so I will have to do more research on those fields. I know I am on the right road, but I am still deciding which turn to take.