The Freedom of a Path Not Singularly Defined

An image of a skeleton with one hand on its head in confusion against a pink background.

Reflections of an Anthropology Grad Working in Communications

When I graduated from the University of Washington one year ago, I had no idea where I was headed. I had earned a meaningful, well-rounded education having studied anthropology, international studies, and English. I didn’t doubt the value of my knowledge; I just didn’t know where it would lead me. Compared to my peers in more clearly defined fields, the path ahead to the “real” world seemed windy and daunting.  

I studied anthropology because I am fascinated by people, by culture in its many facets, and by the ways that we communicate with one another. Anthropology has been a great comfort to me over the years. Many of our experiences are shared and inexplicably human. I find peace in knowing that to be a human being is to be many overlapping things at once. 

It wasn’t for lack of passion that I found myself stuck in a post-grad limbo. On the contrary: I cared about doing something important. I had gained experience academically and through internships that allowed me to participate in mission-driven work with people at the forefront. These experiences, however formative, did not lead me into a specific field, and that felt existentially huge to me. 

What I’ve learned this year is that there is freedom in a path not singularly defined. In fact, there is no singularly defined path at all. There is power in not knowing precisely what lies ahead and following your intuition to make an impact anyway. It’s what led me to my internship with Minerva Strategies and, I’m happy to share, it’s what will keep me here as a full-time associate. 

I’m thankful that my skill set has not confined me to walking in only one particular direction down one particular road. If you happened to read my intern interview blog, you might recall that I’m a quote collector. Everyone knows the age-old phrase, “jack of all trades, master of none.” But have you heard the full saying?  

Jack of all trades, master of none

But oftentimes better than a master of one

I’d suggest that none of us is a master of one. How could any of us be confined to one field of study, one moment in time, or one interest? It’s a disservice to ourselves and those around us when we zoom too far in. By doing so, we miss the bigger picture.  

If I have learned anything from my background in anthropology, it is the power of identity. Each of us holds many different pieces that make up who we are. We are evolving constantly as we learn and grow.  

Throughout my internship, folks in my life have asked me what it’s like to work on a fully remote team. The assumption is that it is isolating or lacking in social connection. I’ve certainly had a few virtual roles in the past that have felt like me and my laptop against the world, so I see where the question originates.  

Working at Minerva is not like that. Not only do I get to collaborate with my team professionally every day—everyone brings their unique personhood to the job. Whether it’s sharing a fascination for all things spooky, expert knowledge about what planets are conspiring against you (and why), or an impromptu book review session, my teammates remind me time and time again that showing up as our authentic selves necessitates all our humanness. 

As we prepare for our upcoming retreat in New Orleans where I will meet many of my colleagues for the first time in person, I feel quite lucky that we have already established such authentic connections with one another thanks to the environment at Minerva. 

I am grateful for my teammates who have seen something in me and my nontraditional communications background. I know that our multifaceted team is not coincidental, but intentional. I have a lot of learning to do here, and I’m excited for every turn—and to bring my full self into it.  

Caroline smiles. In the background, a lake and mountains are visible.

About The Author

Caroline Hall

Caroline Hall

Caroline is passionate about culture and community. As an avid writer with an academic background in anthropology, she has entered the field of communication with the intention of centering people at the forefront.