How Do I Know If a Sociology Major Is Right For Me?

You Just Might Be a Sociologist If...

College student considering sociology major
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My first semester of college was an academic drag. I arrived on the sun-drenched campus of Pomona College full of eager anticipation for the start of classes. It was a massive let down when I found myself mostly disinterested in the subject matter of the first few I enrolled in. I had loved literature classes in high school, and imagined that an English major would be right for me. But in those courses I found myself frustrated by the in-depth, focused analysis of the texts at the expense of any other considerations, like the process of creating them, what social and cultural factors might have influenced the author’s perspective, or what the texts said about the author or the world at the time they were written.

Simply to fulfill a requirement, I enrolled in Introduction to Sociology for the spring semester. After the first class, I was hooked, and knew that it would be my major. I never took another English class, nor another that was dissatisfying.

Part of what was so intriguing to me about sociology was that it taught me to see the world in an entirely new way. I grew up as a white, middle class kid in one of the whitest and least racially diverse states in the nation: New Hampshire. I was raised by married heterosexual parents. Though I always had a fire inside me about injustice, I never thought about the big picture of social problems like inequalities of race and wealth, nor of gender or sexuality. I had a very curious mind, but had led a very sheltered life.

Introduction to Sociology shifted my worldview in a major way because it taught me how to use the sociological imagination to make connections between seemingly isolated incidents and large-scale trends and social problems.

It also taught me how to see the connection between history, the present, and my own life. In the course I developed a sociological perspective, and through it, began to see the connections between how society is organized and my own experiences within it.

Once I understood how to think like a sociologist, I realized that I could study anything from a sociological standpoint.

After taking courses on how to conduct sociological research, I was empowered by the knowledge that I could develop the skills to study and understand social problems, and even be informed enough about them to make recommendations for how to address them.

Is sociology the field for you too? If one or more of these statements describe you, then you just might be a sociologist.

  1. You often find yourself asking why things are the way they are, or why traditions or “common sense” thinking persist when they don’t seem rational or practical.
  2. People look at you like you’re nuts when you ask questions about the things that we typically take for granted, as if you’re asking a very stupid question, but to you it seems like a question that really needs to be asked.
  3. People often tell you that you are “too critical” when you share your perspective on things like news stories, popular culture, or even the dynamics within your family. Maybe they sometimes tell you that you take things “too seriously” and need to “lighten up.”
  4. You are fascinated by popular trends, and you wonder what makes them so appealing.
  5. You frequently find yourself thinking about the consequences of trends.
  6. You like talking to people about what is going on in their lives, what they think about the world and the issues that course through it.
  1. You like digging into data to identify patterns.
  2. You find yourself concerned or angry about society-wide problems like racism, sexism, and wealth inequality, and you wonder why these things persist, and what can be done to stop them.
  3. It upsets you when people blame individual victims of crimes, discrimination, or those who suffer the burdens of inequality rather than seeing and blaming the forces that do the damage.
  4. You believe that humans have the capacity to make meaningful, positive changes to our existing world.

If any of these statements describe you, then talk to a fellow student or professor at your school about majoring in sociology. We'd love to have you.