Academic journal article Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge

Choosing My Major and Career: A Sociological Inquiry

Academic journal article Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge

Choosing My Major and Career: A Sociological Inquiry

Article excerpt

My current major is Social Psychology. This means that half of my classes are under the sociology department and the other half under the psychology department. When I tell people about my major, the usual reply is "Oh, that's interesting, what are you planning on doing with it?" My response to this is always, "I'm going to go to Grad School." Then I'll usually give a list of a few fields of graduate studies that I am interest in, and four or five things that I may end up doing with my possible future degree. I can't limit myself to one choice, and I think I am afraid of choosing a goal, for fear of not achieving it.

I used to think that Sociology and Psychology were both just phony majors, full of information that was just commonsense, and for people who were bleeding hearts or who didn't know what they wanted to major in. Sociology and/or Psychology were never on my possible lists of majors during my senior year of high school. It was a difficult road that led me to this major, with the most salient events occurring in the past two years, but on a road that probably began as a young child.

In this paper, using a framework informed by various sociological theories, I am going to investigate what caused me to choose Social Psychology as a major and explore the possibilities for my future career goals. In order to do this I must employ what C. Wright Mills has termed the Sociological Imagination. By this notion, Mills means the ability to relate one's own life with society as a whole, and the capacity to shift views from the personal to the public (348).

To understand my choice in becoming a Social Psychology student and to determine my future educational goals, I will first look at what Mills has termed "troubles." Troubles happen "within the character of the individual and within the range of his immediate relations with others" (Mills 350).

Troubles fall under the realm of microsociology, which is concerned with face-to-face encounters and the details of communication and human interaction (Wallace & Wolf 5). It is the microsociological connection that I will focus on during the first half of my paper.

To begin to question and comprehend the reasons I have chosen Social Psychology and what I plan to do with my degree, I must first problematize it from a stranger's point of view, and look at my life as though I have no preconceptions of what it should be, suspending my "learned cultural notions" (Wallace and Wolf 262). These approaches were used by Harold Garfinkel, the founder of Ethnomethodology, as ways of explaining his methods. Ethnomethodology is people's ways of making sense of their social world (Wallace & Wolf, 269). Eth nomethodology is a type of research associated with Phenomenology. Phenomenology is interested in things that can be directly understood by one's senses (Wallace & Wolf 263) and "asks us not to take the notions we have learned for granted, but ... to question our way of looking at and our way of being in the world" (Wallace & Wolf 262). I need to look at my past experiences and problematize and understand them to question the place I am in today, and to figure out where I want to go in the future. I agree with the UMass Boston student Jennifer Kosmas that "If we can become aware of our own social constructions, then we can also break out of the self-destructive habits by knowing ourselves" (74). So if I gain awareness of what has led me here, I can begin to know myself and figure out the best path for my future.

In her article titled, "The Roots of Procrastination: A Sociological Inquiry into Why I Wait Until Tomorrow," Kosmas analyzed her relationship with her father in order to get to the bottom of her procrastination problem. Similarly, in her essay titled, "Accepting Myself: Negotiating Self-Esteem and Conformity in Light of Sociological Theories," Sheerin Hosseini discussed her relationship with her parents in terms of her issues dealing with self-esteem. …

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