Graduate School Decisionmaking Tracking

Posted on June 4, 2009 by


I’m coming at full force…at one of you. Maybe all of you some day. You, meaning you, higher institutions of learning.

So its that time of the year where everyone’s graduating and/or moving up and catching up. My mom keeps talking about how old everyone is getting and how accomplished (or not accomplished) people are becoming. She mentions my cousins in the Philippines who are doctors, little cousins becoming nurses, how she moved to the United States at age 24…how everyone’s becoming a nurse…hmmmmm…

Meanwhile, I’m at age 25 still sitting in the purgatory of the demography known as “unemployment and post-bachelor’s.”

I’ve got an aversion to the GRE, mainly because part of it requires fooling around with the Arabic symbol system we call numbers and I’m hoping I’m not to get badly mangled by that. If I eff up there, I’m going to pretend I never took it boost up my profile at a grad school with no such GRE reqs at a History or American Studies program and try again the next year.

I’ve got my eye on the big picture while simultaneously zero-ing in on what I think I might want to write for a dissertation some day. Something to do with the narrow topic of memory, learning, culture, networks, spaces, ecology, and expertises.

OK, well something to do with how societies remember things, everyday people’s knowledges and memories, reasonings, logics, indigenous people’s knowledges and memories, metaphors, reasonings, and logics.

But who the fuck would pay for that outside of people in academia? How the hell is that relevant to really making a difference and getting mine?

I’ve been reading a ton of books and my decisions have been swayed accordingly.

One of my favorite books of all time is James Loewen’s Lies My Teacher Told Me. This makes me think I should just settle down, become an American History teacher.

Oliver Sacks’ books have me thinkng that I want to work at a clinic as a medical anthropologist either domestic or abroad. His stories are the stories I want to encounter and those that I myself want to find and tell. Strikes me in the same T.Kuhn revolutionary way that Guns, Germs, and Steel moved my perceptions.

Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes is making me guilty of all this armchair academia and is inspiring me to learn a whole different lifestyle.

Metaphors We Live By is giving me the vague nudge to become a linguistic anthropologist.

Cognitive Justice in a Global World is making me believe that I too can be a fuckin’ warrior in the “science wars” and help towards a more critical inspection of knowledge and epistemology. I believe that health, medicine, science, technology are far too important to leave to scientists from the West.

My mind’s been scattered, but here are the four most recurring programs I keep looking at.

Rutgers Sociology Culture and Cognition Program: Not really a fan of the exclusively sociological approach, but I love the work on time and memory from this department. Best fit because I actually read some of the works from people at this school. One of the works inspired a post here.

University of Connecticut, Cognitive Anthropology: Sounds like every subject I could want to study is in place there from talking about evolution, cognition, and culture to medical anthropology to do what I need to do. Far away and different from LA. Encourages brown people to apply to university!

UCSD, Psychological and Cognitive Anthropology: Sort of like UConn, possibly the most well-rounded college and also much much closer than UConn. Also I love the work on metaphors by some of the cognitive scientists there. Raph Nunez of Where Mathematics Comes From, mother-effer. Already familiar with the UC system, perhaps that’ll give me a boost in this school?

Cal State Fullerton, American Studies: Convenient, would give me the opportunity to work on a Master’s and see if I like things enough to do a Ph.D. I go to a lot of the California Studies stuff and there’s a lot of representation from CSUF. Probably would be my best bet to study both the development of science and urban demography in California.

MIT, History Anthropology, Science, Technology, and Society: I always thought they were cutting edge and I’d like to be part of that cutting edginess some day. And perhaps play some black jack along the way. Would probably give me the best education in the war against the hegemonies of the infallibility of science.

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