In 2008 I decided to go back to school. I did a little research and realize that I could probably get into the University of Toronto. I never thought university was in the cards for me. Without getting into all the details I was not a very good high school student and I thought that I wasn’t smart enough (spoiler alert… I was). Quite frankly my grades were shit.
The first two times through post-secondary education I took college courses. The first was a general arts and science program that I got bored with after the first term and ended up dropping. Again I still had it in my head that I wasn’t smart.
The second shot at college was a veterinary science program. Which was awesome! This is when I figure out that I was smart. I graduated from this with honours and on the Dean’s list. Yay me! But I never wanted to work in a vet clinic.
So that left me finding work in an office and hanging my little diploma up on the wall to collect dust.
Fast forward 5 years and I had the itch to go back to school. To better myself so that I could find something more fulfilling to do with my life. Office work just wasn’t/isn’t for me. And so began my (part-time) journey to get a university degree.
I had thought that I’d be majoring in English and Sociology but a spur of the moment decision to take Anthropology my first year changed that forever. The first unit was evolutionary anthropology taught by an amazing professor that was very obviously excited about his field.
He introduced me to human and non-human primate evolution. My degree plan very quickly changed to a specialization in Evolutionary Anthropology and minor in Ecological and Evolutionary Biology.
It’s funny how you can be so sure of your path and then find another door you didn’t know was there.
Evolution was fascinating to me. From Proconsul to Rudapithecus to the gracile and robust Australopithecines to our genus Homo. I couldn’t get enough. Lectures were fun and an escape from dull office work.
And then in the summer of 2012 I went on my first field school and really got hooked.
The location was Rudabanya Hungary. The site that we were digging at was dated to the Miocene.We found all kinds of fauna but were specifically looking for Rudapithecus and Anapithecus (of which we found only a few teeth and possible a long bone shaft).
It’s a beautiful country.
And has lots of great food.
That trip marked the end of my study of fossil primates. Not because I had lost interest but because I had already taken all the courses that the university offered. The trip also made me realize that my path probably didn’t lie in the past. Although I liked learning about all of our ancestors and relatives I had no desire to jump into a research role in that area of anthropology.