Approaching the Finish Line

After an unreasonably long absence, I feel I should begin this post with an apology for my lack of updates!  Between the end of the field season at Ferry Farm and the start of my final year at VCU, I have had very little time to sit down and write anything but papers.  Now that things have started to settle down, however, I hope to have a great deal more time to post.  I’ll begin by picking up where I left off, in the final weeks of last field season.

Though I had only one job last summer, I had more titles and responsibilities than I ever imagined I would in my first year as an archaeologist.  By the end of July, I was an excavation intern, crew chief, and teaching assistant for the 2013 VCU Field School, and all only a year after having participated in the field school myself.  I can honestly say my experience this summer was the most challenging, but rewarding I have had in my years as a college student.  I think I was most surprised by how much I loved the teaching aspect of my job, both in terms of public outreach and the field school.  I truly enjoyed being able to share my knowledge of the site and promote a better understanding of archaeology and our role as archaeologists at Ferry Farm to the various guests that would visit throughout the season, but I was most inspired by my work with the field school students.  Being able to share the methods and skills I have developed through my studies and experience was exciting, but I was particularly impressed by how well this group of students responded to my guidance and how incredibly hard they worked throughout their five weeks at the site.  Having the opportunity to share my love of this field and the work I do with students and the public is something I very highly value, and it is something I hope to continue doing for many years to come.

Following the conclusion of the field season, and a bittersweet farewell to the many friends I made at the site this year, I returned to Richmond to begin my last year as a student at Virginia Commonwealth University.  I also returned to my post in the Virtual Curation Laboratory, which recently received funding from a new Department of Defense Legacy Program grant.  I am now the Digital Curation Supervisor in the lab, which means that in addition to the usual scanning and editing of digital models, I now have the added responsibility of overseeing the work being done by other employees and interns, which has been a good experience thus far.

The most significant development in my academic and professional life, however, has been the long and strenuous process of applying to graduate schools – a process that ended today.  I plan to write a separate post going into greater detail about all I have done to reach this milestone, but for now I will keep it brief.  Last semester I began by taking the dreaded GRE, approaching my mentors to ask for their recommendations, refining my Curriculum Vitae, sending inquiry emails, and writing my first letter of intent – which is truly the most intimidating document I have ever written.  Then, on December 1st, I submitted my first application.

Today, I submitted the last.  After clicking that final “submit” button I was very quickly overcome with a flurry of emotions.  On one hand, a huge amount of stress has been lifted, and this great task that has occupied an enormous amount of my time for the past semester is finally complete…  But on the other hand, it is an utterly terrifying sensation to know that my future as a student and an archaeologist is now completely out of my hands.  I have been planning on going to graduate school since my first semester at VCU, and I have wanted to study archaeology since my first post on this blog – following my first day of field school at Ferry Farm.  I feel as though I have been running a marathon since that day, doing all I can to stay immersed and active in this field that I love, and now, in the final 14 weeks of my undergraduate education, and with no further obstacles, I am starting to see the finish line.  This is a tremendously frightening and unbelievably exciting time in my life, and I can’t wait to see what the next chapter of this journey holds…  I plan to keep you all much more updated from here on out, so stay tuned!