By Roqui Clinkscales, Liberal Arts ’19
Anthropology is the scientific study of humanity — our cultures, societies, languages, and biology — as they have changed over the millennia. Intrigued? Me too!
My name is Roqui, and I started a degree in Anthropology at Columbia University after graduating from Borough of Manhattan Community College.
I didn’t start out knowing exactly what I wanted to do with my life; I learned about it gradually and fell in love over time. Today, I’m sharing the moments when I felt the tug toward anthropology and how I ultimately chose that path. Does my story sound like your own? If so, you might just be a born anthropologist!
1. You love a good story based on true events.
During the early years of school, I grew up with a love for music and science. I definitely thought I would study one of those subjects in college. But then, I experienced a high school chemistry class. Yikes! I fell off the science train in a most swift fashion. With a hole left in my plans, I had to explore my interests anew and find out what else I liked to do.
Around the same time that I discovered that science wasn’t for me, a new spark of interest arose for me: History. One teacher of mine, Mr. Welch, would always tell our class these legendary stories that would have us on the edge of our seats.
I was always excited to attend class to hear the next story, and to talk with my classmates about what I heard in the previous class. Importantly, not every story was a fun or exciting one. There were stories of losses as well as wins. But they were real stories from our past and it fascinated me that people just like us were capable of such a vast array of emotion, behavior and action.
2. You + a museum = a good time.
Museums are one of my favorite places to gather my thoughts or find inspiration. It is where I am often able to be analytical and dissect things fully. I could be in the museum for hours on end, and that was where I often wound up when studying history.
I explored different types of history to get a better understanding of what I liked about it and I found myself interested in not just history, but the history of people and their societal and cultural development.
One of the great things about New York is that it’s the perfect place to acquire knowledge on other cultures and insight into how the world worked once upon a time by supporting the many museums that are offered here.
3. Research isn't just a thing you do, it's a way of life!
I was excited to see what the world of history had to offer.
During my initial analysis everything intrigued me, as researching in itself is part of the fun. And I can bet that any student looking to major in history or one of its many branches (anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, etc.) likes to research random things in their down time, myself included.
Can you spend hours exploring a single topic? Clicking from link to link until you feel like you know it all? Do you never buy anything without doing your research first? Join the club!
Once I learned about Anthropology I found that there are four main branches of it: Archaeology (my personal favorite), Linguistic Anthropology, Sociocultural Anthropology, and Biological Anthropology. I knew that this field was a perfect fit for my specific interest.
How I got started at BMCC:
When I applied to BMCC I knew that there was no anthropology major, but there were individual classes for that discipline.
In my first semester, I still wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to study. Rather than commit to just one thing, I decided to major in Liberal Arts with interests in anthropology and music. This way, I could take classes that were geared towards both of my passions without having to commit solely to one or another.
The Anthropology professors that I encountered during my attendance at BMCC were exceptional. One best classes I took was called “The Roles of Women is a Changing World” taught by professor Jamie Warren. Every class was almost cathartic. The topics of conversation and the context in which they were discussed was so refreshing and taught in a way that I will never forget.
I knew then that anthropology was “my kinda thing.” I looked into how it translates in the workforce and found that a museum curator is one of the careers that falls under the Anthropology major. That was the final confirmation for me, and it is what helped me to officially declare Anthropology as my major once I graduated and started attending my current school.
An anthropology degree can set you up for many different career fields, including: public relations, forensics, social work, marketing, law, social/human advocacy, teaching, and much more.
Ultimately, when it came to declaring my major, I wanted to guarantee that my degree would not feel like work but something that I thoroughly enjoy working towards, and considering how my love for history began, my choice felt like a natural one.
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