Brittney MerrittAnthropology is one of the few things when asked about I have to launch myself into full regaliaas to why it is important and the ins and outs of it. I have personally loved anthropology and informingpeople on the importance of the field. What are you going to do with that degree is a phrase that I hearfar too often. There has been one thing that I have learned over these past few years of college and thatwhat works for some people does not work for others. In addition, that the paths that we take to get towhere we want to vary from person to person. Anthropology is my path to education.August 2009, I was attending school in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, I went to school forarchitecture. In my second year of schooling, I had the pleasure of taking an Architectural Historycourse. In that class, we studied ancient cultures and their historical architecture. We looked at thepyramids of Giza, Teotihuacán in Guatemala and other amazing ancient civilization locations. While inthe class we had a semester long project called a case study. In this case study, we had to choose aparticular ancient building and do a project exploring that culture and why the building has significantvalue to our history. However, it was an architecture class I learned some fascinating things aboutcultures in general and the pastThe place that I studied was in Guatemala created by the Mayan people called Chicen Itza: ElCastillo and the Ulúa vase. While completing iconographic and contextual analysis of the two artifacts Ilearned much about the Mayan Culture. This class was my realization that Architecture was interestingto me but that I did not fit into that world. After writing a 15-page paper on the culture of Mayans and apresentation later, I gave up my career in architecture. I transferred schools to ensure that I would notfall back into architecture. I then transferred to Humboldt State.
I was always constantly comparing the two schools and found myself referring to each schoolsparticular culture as they interact with students and classes. In a sense, I was doing a study on highereducation learning and seeing what the benefits to each school have to offer their cohorts.I am a senior and the only thing I can think about is Higher Education- Student Affairs. I aminvested in others succeeding and striving to obtain their goals. It was always a part of my life and now itis closer to a reality. Anthropology has given me the critical lens to look at problems within society andaddress them. Along with this, I have learned that what works for one culture does not work necessarilyfor others. This can also be said for school systems and education what works for a private school doesnot necessarily work for a public school. Peg Blake the Vice President of Student Affairs similarly went toschool for Anthropology for her undergrad and went on to receive a MBA and a doctoral degree inHigher Education. She has also inspired and encouraged me to continue with my higher education goals.With my anthropology degree, I plan to encourage and inspire those who have no idea in whatthey want to do. Having studied this particular field has given me the opportunity to look at the world incompletely new way and see things at more than just face value, but to examine what works for onedoes not work for all. Moreover, that the cultures of the world have a way to remedy themselves.Ultimately, I love explaining why I choose anthropology and that the path that got me there may not bethe same as others but the important thing is what works for one does not work for all.When looking at my annotated bibliography there is a large collection of material that relates tostudent affairs. All of which will someday be read while I am attending graduate school to receive aMasters on the subject. However, they are all fields within student affairs that matter to me:technology, student engagement, retention methods, and most importantly student involvement. Theseareas are all pertinent to the discussion of student affairs in today’s society as they all have a directrelationship to one another. They each play a role to a student’s success in college and learning the
importance of them now helps better engage myself in my own studies. The best way to help others isto help oneself to understand the information.