Why I Majored in Sociology

Why I Majored in Sociology

Sociology is all about understanding human interactions and social institutions, and examining why they work the way they do (and how to change them). It's one of the major branches of social sciences, and is a popular option with students (like me) who want to understand inequality and (hopefully) work for positive change. 

I chose sociology through a combination of investigation and gut feelings. Overall, I'm pretty happy with my choice. Here's why. 

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Choosing a Second Language

Choosing a Second Language

There are a seemingly infinite number of studies and reports out there on the value of a second language—everything from increased business opportunities to an enhanced ability to empathize or to think creatively. Mastery of a second language is supposed to increase potential lifetime earnings, and possibly stave off dementia and Alzheimer’s. It's also part of every Bachelor of Arts degree, and therefore a graduation requirement for many college undergraduates. So if learning a second language is part of your college future, how do you choose which one to study? 

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The Benefits of a Community College Education: Guest Post by Mark Rothenmeyer

The Benefits of a Community College Education: Guest Post by Mark Rothenmeyer

The low cost of tuition allows you, the student, to fulfill courses required for graduation while also taking classes to broaden your perspective, pursue your interests, and determine your future major. Many students arrive at expensive, four year institutions with the “undecided” block checked and spend a great deal of money trying to find their passion when they could have spent dramatically less had their search began at a community college.

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Education in the UK vs. the US: "What is Foucault?"

Education in the UK vs. the US: "What is Foucault?"

This is a blog post about liberal arts, the United States system of higher education, and my brief experience studying in Northern Ireland. Specifically, about the difference witnessed between my “breadth” of educational experience in liberal arts and the “depth” of background evidenced by my peers in the law program.

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The Disconnected College Curriculum and "Spider Ed": Guest Post by "Professor X"

The Disconnected College Curriculum and "Spider Ed": Guest Post by "Professor X"

Colleges are no longer producing responsible citizens of the world.  This is a damning testament, since the world, or at least America, is clearly evolving toward entitled lifestyles where people are informed by their own filters and become disconnected from any real world.   Why is the college experience enabling students to remain on this path?

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The Transition from High School to College: Guest Post from "Professor X"

The Transition from High School to College: Guest Post from "Professor X"

 The transition from high school to college is certainly different now than it was 20-30 years ago and thus represents an evolutionary process.   While the high school experience has probably not changed much in the last 100 years, the college experience is now different in new and fundamental ways, and most incoming freshmen are unprepared to deal with this new way of life and new mode of educational performance. By far the biggest of the transitions is the realization that now you, the college freshmen, are suddenly personally responsible for your own successes and failures.

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What I learned taking college classes in prison

What I learned taking college classes in prison

I spent hundreds of hours in the Oregon State Penitentiary, first as a student, then as a teacher’s assistant and program coordinator. But that first day, on entering the prison, that Dostoevsky quote was certainly on my mind. What did this massive building say about our society? And how would I fit into the smaller microcosm of the classroom?

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Starting the Semester: The Syllabus

Starting the Semester: The Syllabus

The syllabus is your friend. It tells you exactly what you need to do to be prepared for class, learn what’s valuable, and get a good grade. A well-written syllabus leaves no mysteries to course structure or requirements. It’s all there, on a piece of paper, and you will probably go through an exhaustive discussion on that first day. Pay attention.

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Credits for volunteering

Credits for volunteering

Many colleges and universities out there offer course credits for volunteer hours. This system encourages students to put their studies into practice in the “real world” to apply what they have learned, and also provides a structure within the university through which they can put together and undertake volunteer experience.

I see this as a mixed blessing.

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Learning a language: My journey in Spanish

Learning a language: My journey in Spanish

I struggled mightily to learn Spanish. I truly believe that it’s a worthwhile effort for everyone. I think that everyone can honestly benefit from learning to communicate in a second language, and that the world opens up in a new way once you can manage it.

But language learning, for most of us, is a long and difficult slog.

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Getting into "closed" classes

Getting into "closed" classes

So here’s something I wish I had known from the beginning: a “closed class” does not mean what you think it means. If the class is capped at thirty, and there are thirty students already signed up, then it just means you need to be a bit more creative about making your schedule happen. Here’s what worked for me

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Building your schedule

Building your schedule

College is usually the first time you have the chance to build your own schedule. Even if you had some nominal control over which classes you took and which extracurricular activities you signed up for in high school, the basic layout of your time was planned for you. There was school time and home time, with structure imposed on you to a certain degree wherever you were.

Learn to plan your schedule (and your life) in a way that works for you. 

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