Where will this take me?
As a skilled detective of ingrained and ‘unseen’ cultural and social practices, you’ll be highly sought after across a variety of industries. Anthropology provides a brilliant set of critical and scholarly tools to enhance your employability in any profession where you will be working with people from different cultural backgrounds and negotiating change in attitudes or practices, such as: teaching, law, politics and policymaking, social and market research, journalism, aid agencies, conservation agencies and developmental agencies.
It can also enable a meaningful career in government, non-government and the private sectors.
A major in Anthropology can also perfectly supplement and add dimension to your other studies: a wonderful prism through which to inform lifelong learning.
Annie Chessells is currently completing a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Anthropology.
During high school, I was involved in human rights and social justice campaigning, and after I finished Year 12 I worked a full-time job on the 2016 Federal Election campaign. I really enjoyed that, and it cemented for me that I’d like to learn more about people and social theory, particularly around social change. I chose Anthropology as my major as it was the subject I had enjoyed the most in first year.
The biggest thing I’ve gained from studying Anthropology is the ability to think critically about things. Instead of accepting theories or case studies at face value, we’re encouraged to ask how that knowledge came about, and investigate if there are alternate ways of looking at things. It makes you question everything you thought you knew, and in my life outside of university I’m always curious about why things are the way they are because of this.
Ethnography is a method of social research used in Anthropology that I’d never heard of before coming to uni. I think ethnography is what sets Anthropology apart from other disciplines. This style of research is a lot more in-depth and can capture nuances and smaller details that other styles of research can’t. I got the chance to take a more practical subject in second year called Doing Ethnographic Research, and this really helped consolidate the theories we’d been learning about in Anthropology into practice.
I researched female undergraduate rural and regional students at the University of Melbourne, and in the process, learned that I had to let go of my ideas that research projects are straightforward – studying people is messy! I learned that often things change, and it’s important to be flexible and open to changing your lines of inquiry, or let the research be influenced by the participants themselves.
I’m interested in politics, so throughout my studies I’ve been active around political issues I care about. I’ve done some volunteering for the Stop Adani and Marriage Equality campaigns while studying and am particularly interested in young people and politics, so I co-convene a political group of young people. I’ve found this a useful break from study, while still feeling like I’m doing something proactive.