Hi everyone! My name is Kristin, and this is actually my first post. I'm from Ohio and I'm a part time pharmacy tech / full time college student.
I was reading articles on attending college without a specific major, when I came across this:
What are your thoughts on that? How many of you have graduated with an Anthropology degree and landed jobs in the field?
I'm still a freshman and have been unable to decide on a major. Cultural Anthropology is my passion, however I go to a small community college where hardly anyone even knows what Anthropology is. They do offer bachelors degrees in Social Services/Chemical Dependency which I've been considering. I met with my academic advisor today, who suggested I keep my major as associate or arts or science, choosing Anthropology or Sociology type classes with Social Services classes as electives, then transfer to a university for a more specific major. The one idea I really liked about majoring in Social Services/Chemical Dependency is that after receiving my associates, I would qualify to become a social worker assistant or licensed chemical dependency counselor, which would be a decent job while pursuing a higher Anthropology degree. I have to work while in school, so unfortunately, while my education is my number one focus, jobs must be a priority as well. If I go through the rest of my associate's program without a specific major, I'm worried that jobs in those fields won't even consider me. What are your thoughts?
Thanks in advance!
Kristin, what part of Ohio? I have a brother-in-law in Columbus, retired after working as a social worker with victims of black lung disease. He's a nice guy and might be able to provide more realistic advice about life in social services than anything I can say.
Re what Forbes says: It's important to remember that Forbes is only concerned with two metrics, the likelihood of finding a job and how much the job will pay. In both respects, young anthropologists now have a tough row to hoe. There is little direct connection between most jobs on offer and what anthropology teaches and those who work as anthropologists don't, except for tenured professors at major research universities, get paid very well.
But you sound like you have a head on your shoulders. Since you are paying your own way through school, you are quite sensibly thinking about how to find work that you hope will make you more employable and, perhaps, doing work that you would enjoy more than your current job. That sounds like a good plan to me. The only question I would be asking if I were in your shoes is why am I thinking of social services related jobs that are often highly stressful as well as low paid.
If chemical dependency is an issue with particular meaning for you, the good news is that working in that field could double as fieldwork, providing you with first hand experience invaluable in planning and executing future research. I wonder if you have read Phillipe Bourgois In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in the Barrio? It's a powerful, if controversial, book and certainly brings an anthropological perspective to the world in which you are thinking of working.
Bear in mind that I am a sixty-nine year old man who was privileged to be your age in a much friendlier world for a smart kid who wanted to go to school and learn cool stuff that would set him apart a bit. Neither a BA in philosophy nor a Ph.D. in anthropology were directly instrumental in my finally winding up with a career in advertising and now self-employed as an owner-partner in a small translation and copywriting firm in Japan (by small I mean me, my wife, and one Japanese associate). But anthropology has remained an important part of my life, by far the most meaningful of my hobbies.
I hope this is helpful.
I would advise against pursuing anthropology, get as much sociology and social work as your degree planning allows. If your school has a LPN program, I'd tack that on, and stick with the s/cd. Anthro is aimed outside job tracks, compared with sociology, and though Iz'm sure you'd find it interesting, go with what you know now
Kristen, I don't know about the status of 'Forbes' in the U.S. but I can't help noticing that their article is a lot of self-contradictory, self-serving, drivel. If you look on the adjacent 'most valuable' (note how they see 'highest price' and 'most valuable' as the same) list they have another range of 'least valuable' courses (social work and so on) where anthropology does not appear.
You are not a statistic or a price-tag so I would follow what you love, as you say. Forbes, whatever it is, is pedalling a nasty and brutish ideology where the only 'value' in life is how much you can sell yourself for. Doing something for other people and exploring how society actually works don't appeal to Forbes, but it can't decide which of the social studies to stamp on first, or most strongly, so the two pieces take a scattershot approach - vaunting the high paid and devaluing anything else.