Anonymous said: How did you know Linguistics was the right fit for you? I'm about to start studying it, but I'm nervous!
I didn’t know that linguistics was the right fit until I was well into it. I didn’t know what I wanted to do (and hadn’t even heard of linguistics), so I enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts. I took History and Maths, and I loved languages so I decided to do a major in Spanish too and I had an extra class to fill and Introduction to the Study of Language sounded the most interesting. And I found it interesting, but about halfway through the course I realised it was the intersection of all my interests (intensely analytical, but with historical and sociological elements and fundamentally about people) and that I was pretty good at it. And that was that. I just kept taking classes, and explored options for honours and fieldwork (basically I wanted an excuse to travel) and research assistantships and it all seemed to fall into place. Mostly though, the great thing is is that linguistics is such a big field there’s so many options for ‘the right fit’.
Like, if you’re a mathsy patterns person then syntax or phonology are great, and if you’re a sciency measurements type then phonetics is perfect, and if you’re a history buff then obviously historical linguistics and if you just love words then you can be a lexicographer and if social sciences and why people do what they do is what interests you then sociolinguistics or psycholinguistics depending on what you mean by why or if you want to apply your ling skills to practical situations then language documentation/translation/language teaching/speech pathology or therapy/language policy. And of course if you like to travel do fieldwork! Basically I think that anyone who loves language can find a good fit in linguistics.
Don’t be nervous! Some parts are harder than others, but you’ll work out what you like and what you’re best at and then you get to specialise. Plus my experience is that linguists are mostly just really enthusiastic people who get really excited when someone else is also interested. It really is one of the friendliest fields. And remember: you always have options, not just in what you study, but also in what you do with that study, so don’t ever feel trapped.
Good luck :)