When I tell people I was a sociology major in college, they usually look at me with dull eyes or ask the common question of “What is that, exactly?”. It never sounds like the most intriguing of subjects and even when I signed up for my first intro class, I was skeptical of whether or not I would enjoy it. When I discovered just how impactful the study of our society would be on my own life, I couldn’t have been happier with my decision of choosing it as my major and here are 10 reasons why.
1. I wanted to help people.
Ever since I was a child, I saw those in need and felt the strong desire to do something in order to help them. I would make my mom pull over when seeing a homeless man on the street, so that I could hand him the candy I begged for at the store. I witnessed people close to me that were of other races or sexualities be mistreated and wanted nothing more than to stand up for them. I just didn’t know how.
When studying sociology, I discovered the only way I could truly help others was by learning about how these injustices happened in the first place.
2. I wanted to learn about a variety of subjects, not just one.
When choosing to be a sociology major, you’re forced to take classes the entail a variety of topics. From urban living, to gender, to psychology—sociology entails more than just its basic definition of studying society as a whole. This is because society and the way it has formed into what it is today was done so by so many different influences.
3. I’ve always enjoyed observing people.
Who doesn’t like to people watch? We all do it and as a sociology major, it’s basically your job to sit back and observe others in order to educate yourself. I would get to sit in a cafeteria and take notes as I watched others walk by me, have intriguing conversations, and make gestures in order to find common patterns within the group as a whole. It was something I had always done on my own anyway, so may as well do it for college credit.
4. I wanted to help change the world.
In order to create any kind of change, you must educate yourself on what it is you are trying to change. Just like how you can’t exercise properly without knowing the right techniques, or you’ll hurt yourself—you can’t help the system without actually knowing how and what needs help in the first place.
As a sociology major, I learned exactly how the criminal system became what it is today, why those placed in authoritative positions tend to let power get to their heads, and how the history of mistreatment of minorities is still embedded into the society we still live in.
Now, I’m able to have discussions with those who may not be fully aware of these injustices in order to create a shift in how they might see them.
5. I wanted to understand political and societal decisions.
I’ve never been someone who engrossed themselves in politics and it was mostly because I never really understood them to begin with. As a college student, I knew that learning about law making and societal decisions would be an important part of my education. Majoring in sociology helped me better understand how laws are not only formed, but why they were formed in the first place.
6. I’ve always considered myself to be open minded.
As a sociology major, you have to be open minded. The first term I ever learned was “sociological imagination”, which entails making connections between personal challenges and larger social issues. This meaning that when you meet someone that is struggling, is different, or even holds a lot of anger against the world—you get to understand that it is not just a personal issue. You become open minded to all these other influences and you learn to not judge them so quickly.
7. I am a creative type.
I knew from the moment I started learning, that I would always be a creative type. It was hard for me to count up numbers, to understand formulas in science or to think analytically. As a sociology major, I was able to use my observations, history and stories in order to better understand things like statistics. It made any kind of analysis work that much easier to understand.
8. I am a writer.
As a sociology major, most of the work for classes that I had to do involved writing. Whether it be discussing theories through essays or wiring pages of notes involving observations I had to make, I enjoyed being able to use my favorite outlet to do so.
9. I enjoyed having difficult discussions with people from different backgrounds.
In class, we always had to discuss topics of injustice with students that came from different backgrounds and of different races. As a white female, I knew there were some topics I couldn’t quite grasp and the only way I would be able to learn was by listening to others.
Not only did I learn more about the world around me, but I got to learn about the issues facing our society directly from those impacted by them. It was both upsetting and revitalizing.
10. I wanted to change myself.
Growing up, I knew there were parts of myself that were selfish, ignorant and inconsiderate of those around me. The only way I could face these problems was through my education. As a sociology major, I not only was able to learn about the world around me, but also had the opportunity to learn about myself in the process.
I was able to see my place in the society I live in and how I personally can become a better person through my education.