Get out of your comfort zone! That was Samantha Sammis’ first assignment in Sociology 101. She chose to attend a three-hour service with a local Pentecostal congregation. “Eye-opening,” she calls it. And it turned out to be just one of many valuable experiences that have helped her establish a strategy for life after graduation.
“My 101 class was very hands-on,” Samantha remembers. “Our professor encouraged us to get out there and be with people that we’re interested in, but we had to choose places we’d never been and didn’t really want to go to. Then, we wrote about the experience – about our discussions, how we felt and whether we’d go again.” In sociology, Samantha always finds subjects that interest her. “I chose this field because I love people. I love finding out what they do and why they do it, how they think and what they believe in.”
To pursue these interests, she not only packed her schedule with interesting courses, she also spent time conducting research, volunteering and doing internships. “Through the department, I interned with Communities in Schools. Three days a week I was at a local elementary school, assisting in a dropout- prevention program. I led a life-skills group, in which I helped students understand anger management, peaceful conflict resolution and healthy relationships. The most rewarding part was assisting with a sex-education class for sixth-grade girls. That was hilarious, amazing and challenging, all at once.”
She also took a study-abroad course and spent three weeks traveling in remote sections of northern India. “It was culture shock to find myself in small villages with fewer than 100 people. No one spoke English, and there were very few of the daily necessities that we’re accustomed to, such as toilet paper or easy food. But it was fantastic just being there and observing the social norms.”
After graduating, Samantha plans to be a teacher. If you’re like Samantha, and you’re interested in people and society, check out sociology. It can be a great start to life beyond college.
Sociology majors are taught to understand the social causes and consequences of human social activity. They learn to collect and analyze data and to use sociological theories to think critically about social issues. In all this, they’re supported by a talented faculty whose expertise ranges from criminal behavior to gerontology.
- Internships are vital. The department helps you secure for-credit positions in which you can apply classroom knowledge to real-world situations.
- Engaging courses, such as The Sociology of Peace, Criminology, and Urban Sociology are taught regularly.
- Engage in research or complete an independent study with a faculty member on a topic that interests you.
- Join the Sociology and Anthropology Club and you’ll become actively engaged in presentations and gatherings like the Food and Culture Pot Luck and student vs. faculty volleyball.