I started working for a retail company in May almost immediately after graduating, and I have the majority of my loans paid back. My goal when I graduated was to work long enough to pay those loans and get a financial cushion before I continued in graduate school, and I will hopefully be returning to academia next year. I have tried to stay in the archaeological field by volunteering at Dickson Mounds in Lewiston, Illinois, and I have staffed big events and we are working on more in this upcoming spring and summer. Even though it is not paid work, I still feel like I am part of the staff there, and I really enjoy working with visitors, young and old, on Native American craft projects and archaeology-related topics and activities. For example, not long after I learned how to use it successfully, I taught some visitors how to throw a dart with an atlatl.
Between work and Dickson Mounds, I continue to revise my research project on Vlad the Impaler. In December 2012, a conference published the revised edition of the paper I presented, and I have continued to revise and expand not only that but also my undergraduate thesis. I would like to make Vlad part of my career, as has been my goal for almost twelve years (I am not joking), so I have kept up with the research and I am planning a trip to Romania either this fall or next year. In the meantime, I'll just keep working.