In my sociology class, I learned that Sociology has greatly affected nearly every aspect of my life. Sociology is the study of how societies interact with each other. As a college student who is currently majoring in nursing, I have connected sociology with my future job, Once I am a nurse, I will have to be able to distinguish and accept the social differences and environment that people are raised in I also have to be aware of my surroundings as well as being able to understand why people act a certain way and how society might have influenced their behavior or attitudes, Throughout the semester, I was astonished at how sociology is significant in order to properly understand society as a whole.
Growing up, I definitely experienced many different concepts in sociology and recognized how these concepts are influencing my life altogether. Symbolic interactionism is defined by sociologists as things to which we attach meaning that are key to understanding how we view the world and communicate with one anotheri (Henslin 2012) The examples that are commonly used in order to demonstrate symbolic interactionism are marriages and divorcest.
For me, growing up as a child, one thing that was apart of my symbolic interactionism is me being Native American, Everybody in my family was given a spirit animal, mine was the wolf. The wolf symbolizes independency and leadership, two characteristics that I have demonstrated as the oldest child. I always possessed good leadership qualities and encourage my brother and sisters to complete their homework and listen to their elders In high school, I was also an independent learner and preferred to work and teach myself without assistance from any teachers.
To this day, the wolf to me, plays a huge role in symbolic interactionism in my life because I look to it for guidance and motivation to keep moving forward. Socialization is defined by sociologists as a process of social interaction through which people acquire personality and identity and the way of life of their societyt.
When was in middle school, the school I was attending for many years, Cotopaxi, was a small school in a mountain town in Colorado. Because mostly everyone had the same backgrounds, (they were raised on a farm, their parents also attended Cotopaxi when they were kids, etc) there was not much room for me to grow and develop into my own individual person. I often found myself following others, not understanding much because I was young and looking for acceptance, Then, when I was 14, an unexpected change happened in my life, My mom moved our family to Spokane, Washington, my home town, a much different environment compared to Cotopaxi. I was around many different people since I attended a bigger middle school. Because I was a new student, I had to learn how to interact with other students on my own in order to make friends, I made two friends, Rachelle and Anna, who both were very friendly and shared some similar traits and ideas with me I became even more confident when I met my older brother‘s friends and started communicating with different people around my neighborhood.
This experience helped me gain my own self identity. I also learned about the differences a small town compared to a big city and understood why people acted differently in Cotopaxi school then the middle school I attended in Spokane, Washington. People in a small town are only surrounded by the same people every day , so they did not understand the different qualities or personalities and only identified one way as the right way. Another concept that relates to my life is Cooley’s Looking Glass Self. The Looking Glass Self is developed in three elements: We imagine how we appear to those around us, we interpret others’ reactions, and we develop a self-concept. As a young middle school student starting out in Cotopaxi school, I often pictured how other students thought of me. I would see their reactions towards me and it was evident that they did not approve of me being in their friend group. They would whisper in each other’s ears and ignore me at recess and leave me out of class sports games that they played outside. I developed a self- concept of myself and believed that there was something wrong with me because the other students did not want to be my friend, For the longest time, I would put myself down and think that I was not good enough.
This impacted my life because to this day, I sometimes struggle with self esteem and confidence, Negative and positive sanctions were common throughout my childhood. Negative sanctions are defined as frowns, gossip breaking folkways, imprisonment, or capital punishment for violating mores. As an older sister, I admit that I was guilty of bullying my younger brother and sisters at times. I remember one situation when me and my brother had been arguing for hours until finally, I decided to throw a toy at him. It hit his face and he was screaming and crying My parents ran into the room and I was punished. I had to stand in the corner for 25 minutes, which i remember felt like the longest time in my life, Because I disobeyed my parents and acted inappropriately, l was punished Positive sanctions are defined as smiles to formal awards and are used to reward people for conforming to norms.
At my high school graduation, I saw my dad cry for the first time ever. He gave me a big hug and told me how proud he was. He also gave me graduation money to spend. Negative and positive sanctions influenced my life because I learned right from wrong and learned what behavior was appropriate, and what behavior was frowned upon. Now, when I have children, I will be able to identify right from wrong and know when punishment should be allowed. Mead’s Role Taking Theory was specifically focused on primary socialization, the process that takes place with infants and small children. (Henslin 2012). According to sociologists, socialization occurs through children interacting with those around them and beginning to identify certain roles and behaviors and patterns. When 1 was 3 or 4 years old, I often imitated my mom, I would try to wear her shoes and play dress up with her clothes. I also pretended to clean up like she used to do and played with toy kitchen supplies. This stage is one of Mead’s stages that define how children act throughout their childhood. In this case, me playing dress up and pretending to be my mom is Mead’s Stage 2, ages 36 “play pretend others.” (Henslin 2012) This affected my childhood because I looked up to my mom as a role model as well as support when I needed someone to talk to.
However, when I grew older, I realized the importance of gaining my own self identity, Females and males are often identified by sociologists as either carrying masculine or feminine behaviorsr Males are to be more masculine, while females are to portray feminine characteristics, If they don’t follow their gender roles, then they are looked down upon by society When me and my sister were around 5 or 6 years old, we were given pink and purple clothes, while my little brother had blue or black clothes. My sister and I both received barbie dolls and baby dolls for Christmas gifts. My little brother, on the other hand, was given toy cars and helicopters, I remember a few times when me and my sister would try and play with my brother‘s toys. Our parents took the toys away and told us to play with our toys. Looking back, this affected my childhood because I distinguished what toys were appropriate for little girls and for little boys. To this day, even walking through Walmart, I can clearly distinguish male from female toys. Social class is defined by sociologists as something that divides people from each other by income, education, occupational prestige, social status, ascribed status, and achieved.
Because my family did not have as much money as other families in the community growing up as a child, I was referred to as poor. I did not get an allowance and my parents did not offer money to school events, My mom and dad also both never received their high school diplomas and worked at fast food restaurants. Though I did not share my frustrations with my parents about money, there were several incidents where I was embarrassed by my classmates, The status symbols that also defined who I was and what social class my family held included the clothes I wore and our old cars. This showed that we did not have the money to afford the things that other families could afford. To this day, look back and realize how grateful I am that my parents encouraged me to earn my own money through hard work. I also realize that without this struggle, I would not be so motivated to attend college right after high school. Stereotypes influenced my life as a young elementary student starting off in school. Stereotypes are assumptions about what people are like and the classification about others by visible characteristics.
The ideas about characteristics guide our behavior and may be true or false assumptions. In the fifth grade, I had no friends until I met a girl named Kiara who was also left outjust like me. We became friends instantly and were always around each other. Kiara was different from the other students who attended Cotopaxi elementary school. She was black, and there were no other black students, I was also considered different because I am mexican and the both of us had darker skin then the rest of the students. One day, when we were playing outside for recess, we were both waiting in line for the tire swing when this boy in our class, who was on the tire swing, told us we were not going to get a turn. We asked him why and he responded with a smirk on his face that he does not like “niggers.” Even though I wasn’t black, he referred to me as that because I was a darker skin color. l-lis assumption was that he did not have to let us have the same rights because we were a darker skin color. This affected me growing up because I see stereotypes like this that I experienced at a young age, still happen and affects the way people behave.
If people would not let stereotypes get in the way of theirjudgement, they would come to the realization that everyone is equal. Groupthink is the influence a group has over authorities and peers. (Henslin 2012) This is motivated through ideas that are believed to be true. One idea that I remember that was brought up was the end of the world in 2012 People were so convinced that a famous theorist predicted the end of the world, that they were actually preparing for it. At first, I remember thinking the theory as as stupid and not logical, but after awhile, I started to panic and think that the end really might be coming. The influence this theory had over me included my ideas and behaviors. I started to pack up the few valuable items I owned and kept a journal that discussed all the things I appreciated about my life, I prayed to God that the end would not come so soon and I even started procrastinating when it came to all my school assignments To this day, something that I learned from this experience when the end of the world did not happen, was how I easily allowed this group to influence my behavior and ideas.
I am aware of how dangerous this could he to later societies. Deviance is a non judgemental term that means a violation of norms.(Henslin 2012). When I attended church, something that was considered deviant behavior was girls not wearing dresses during services. Because of this, my mom would never allow me to wear pants to church. She referred to it as rebellionr The one time I had spent the night with a friend and met her at church I decided to wear pants. My mom showed disappointment towards me while church members stared at me in disbelief. I was surprised to witness how what a church thought was deviant, others did not always feel the same towards. At school, for example, girls were allowed to wear pants as well as jobs and job interviews, which is why I did not understand why it was so important for me to wear a dress to church.
Though the church I attended gained their own definition of deviant behaviors, I came up with my own, which includes going to jail or getting a speeding ticket. I fully understand that what some families find as deviant behaviors may not be deviant to me because I have my own personal opinions Understanding the different concepts in Sociology has helped me establish the different perspectives people gain through society This course has taught me the ways society has impacted my life and how I can learn from the surroundings I am in. Without being able to learn from the environment I am surrounded in, I will not be able to comprehend why people behave or act a certain way, Also, I will not be able to understand how society influences the decisions I make in my life Sociology has opened my eyes to the world I am living in today while at the same time, allowing me to experience the struggles society faces everyday I am thankful that I have received this opportunity to learn about Sociology because without it, I would not fully be informed about society and the way people live or think.