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Freshman year of college I still didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I love singing, cooking, writing, and art but I couldn’t see myself as a singer, chef, journalist/editor, or artist. It wasn’t until I took sociology as a prerequisite that I truly found my calling. I want to understand and help others. I want to help others find their way in life, learn their value, and I want to help them feel understood. Sociology is the study of the development, structure, and functioning of human society. It creates new ways of thinking and allows you to look at certain things and ideas that society tells us to turn our heads from. One of the main things sociology did for me was teaching me how to look outside of myself. We live in such a “me” society that we forget that this isn’t a “me” world. There are billions of people out there who are similar or worse off than you. 

[bf_image id="k75973hxxnwjsrnn89j"] One-point six billion of those people are homeless throughout the whole world. Four-point four million women struggle with miscarriages in the U.S. alone. Two hundred and sixty-four million suffer from anxiety. The list could go on, trust me. I don’t say these things to upset anyone. I say them to acknowledge this world is full of grief, but if we work together to understand the grief and anguish humans struggle with maybe we can come together and make these problems more bearable.

  [bf_image id="79kkkv94xc9nb6mrk98m4wg6"] My favorite thing I learned about in my first sociology class was Community First! Villages in Austin, Texas. Founder Alan Graham came up with the idea with a few of his friends to serve others in the community by providing meals for them. Once they started building relationships within the homeless community they felt the need to push even further and help provide them not only affordable, permanent housing but a supportive community that allows them to be themselves and learn ways to make a living. If you haven’t already, please go to Community First! Village. One of the coolest parts about this community is that they have a bed and breakfast for a vacation spot, AND they have their art store where all the proceeds go to the artist that made it. I can’t wait to go see it for myself! I could continue to write on and on about CFV, but I’ll let you explore it yourself. Sociology classes are only given at certain times of the year, therefore I’ve sadly only had one class so far. That one class made a difference, though. Sociology is made up of three white men’s ideas on society. I’m not here to tell you which one I believe is true because, in reality, I don’t believe any of them hit the mark on their ideas compared to real-life society. I will introduce who they are and their theories, though, because I think they’re interesting.

[bf_image id="hq9hp8qq44rrwqqg2k5fxhxx"] Emile Durkheim’s theory was structural functionalism, which states society is a structure that is separate from and precedes individuals; social solidarity and collective consciousness are most important. Max Weber’s theory was conflict and symbolic interactionism which states that society is defined by its ideas and conflict over class, power, and status. Lastly, Karl Marx is known for his conflict theory which states that society is unequal groups in conflict, capitalism is exploitation, and class consciousness is needed to undo the status quo. That might sound like a lot of gibberish since you didn’t learn about these things in a class setting, but summed up it shows how these theorists viewed society and how it worked as a whole.

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It’s really interesting to see how people act and who they become based on their surroundings. I don’t believe that’s all it takes because I know for a fact that seeing an alcoholic mother or father doesn’t mean that the child will grow up to be that way. Sure, people say that you become your parents- but I disagree. “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You” - Dr. Seuss. You are your person. Be who you want to be. At the end of the day, are you proud of who you are? Do you think your life has meaning? If you don’t have positive answers, I suggest thinking about it more. Be open and willing to talk to a counselor or friend about it. Life is worth living. Every life matters.

[bf_image id="k3x8k7j3kp5t5hptbx469f"] Who do I want to be? I want to be remembered for caring for others not because it’s of my own accord but because God calls me to love His children. I want to help others in any way that I can. Some people think it’s crazy that I’m in college and want to go into nonprofit. “You won’t make any money” “How will you provide for yourself?” “That’s just silly. You need something consistent like nursing.” I can’t promise anyone that I’ll make a steady income, but I’ve seen others do it. It’s not an impossible thing to accomplish. I will get more out of my job and life in the long run so, in my opinion, it’s mind over matter.  [bf_image id="m3mts87sp96hwcb8wzsmrzbt"] I give my life freely (not reluctantly) to serve others because I feel led by God’s compassion, forgiveness, and mercy to do so; for,  “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” -2 Corinthians 9:7. 

References:

https://homelessworldcup.org/homelessness-statistics/

http://www.hopexchange.com/Statistics.htm 

https://www.singlecare.com/blog/news/anxiety-statistics/ 

Mandy Parker

Louisiana Tech '23

I'm a sophomore majoring in sociology. I just want to help people wherever I can. Tomorrow is never promised, so I live for the moments we have now.
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