What is Sociology?

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I was asked several times what I was going to “major” in graduate school and I told them that I was going into sociology. I realized that most people have no idea what “sociology” means.

According to Wikipedia, (Not a super academic site, but it will suffice)

Sociology is the study of society.[1] It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation[2] and critical analysis[3] to develop and refine a body of knowledge about human social activity. For many sociologists, the goal is to apply findings directly to the pursuit of social welfare, while others seek purely academic or intellectual knowledge.

For you science people out there, think of it that instead of using labs to study specific aspects of mice, sociologists study certain aspects of people and the “lab” is the world. Why do groups of people do the things that they do? How much of an influence, subconsciously or consciously, does their upbringing have on their present decision-making? What makes person choose a particular kind of coffee as opposed to other kinds of coffee?

For my program, I want to study immigration. I originally wanted to go to law school to do immigration law but 1.) it requires taking out thousands and thousands of dollars in loans, something I am not comfortable with 2.) It is supremely competitive and 3.) there is absolutely no guarantee that I will get a job after obtaining my law degree. With the surplus of lawyers, I don’t foresee an influx of demand on legal-related work anytime soon in the next 5-10 years. By going into sociology, I can study immigrants and hopefully contribute something useful in both the academic and real world.  For now, that is the plan but chances are very high that my focus will change. It depends on how difficult it is to assess my topic and how to gather data, etc. etc.

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