I noticed that some of my classmates mentioned depression as a reaction to the readings this week. Personally, I came away with a much more hopeful reaction. By no means are the opportunities boundless for historians, but you realize that there are more options out there than you typically think of. I suppose the readings validated my choice to do the MAHR option because I love the possibilities available for those willing to get creative and make a career that works for them, beyond academia, teaching, and law. “Historians as Consultants and Contractors” laid out some of those other possibilities.
I loved how “Crafting a New Historian” detailed how it is possible to combine two passions or hobbies. I would say that this describes exactly how I decided upon my research and project topic. I love military history and art, so why not combine them to get combat art. I love that I can talk about museums and exhibits with my graphic designer friend because she is interested in the same thing. We are able to discuss how we can effectively communicate information and present it visually. I think that’s why I spent so much time on the West Office website just looking at every different exhibit design they created. I also agreed with the statement in “Crafting a New Historian” that as historians, we develop skilled transferable to other disciplines or topics, such as planning, researching, hypothesizing, and problem-solving.
Along those same lines, last week my mom sent me an article that I think is applicable. In it, the author laments over the drop in history, and other humanities, majors, stating that the job market is losing critical thinkers and good communicators. These skills are valuable, whether working in history or not, and people are missing out on the resources that history majors posses.
I did encounter one source of stress in the readings. “Crafting a New Historian” mentioned being able to relate to different people with different interests. I whole-heartedly agree, and feel that as historians we can do that, especially through reading books. What stresses me out is when we must relate to people through interactions and conversations. I’m not the best conversationalist and this, frankly scares me. Furthermore, I had a conversation with a historian working for the NPS at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. One point he made was that historians have to be “people” persons. At this statement, I panicked because I am most certainly not a “people-person”. I guess I will have to work on that.