Majoring in Sociology: Value in education and the real world

After switching majors and areas of study five different times, I decided to stick with sociology and minor in marketing. Ironically, sociology was my first initial choice when arriving at UNT as a freshman.  It seems to be a misunderstood area of study, and it is unclear how valuable a degree in this field is to the job market today.  But what exactly is acquired out of this area of study? Is it applicable to the real world and valued by employers? The answer can possibly be best explained by a sociology major who is currently attempting to understand the value of his degree and how to market his education. That student is myself.

Sociology is loosely defined as the study of society and interactions within group contexts. It is the study of all things related to patterns of interaction, observed from certain perspectives. Sociology students learn how to view society and its patterns through certain perspectives in an attempt to objectively define human interaction and predict behavior. However, all conclusions about society are said to be entirely subjective. Sociology is a broad concept that I like to define as “the study of everything.” It’s a humorous way to describe my educational focus, but it truly is a major that teaches students how to view the social world, where it falls short, where it succeeds, and how to predict behavior among society. Students learn the essence of how the world works, so to speak.

I would not be able to explain the above when I first decided to major in sociology. I personally chose to study it because I enjoy observing society and learning the systematic social processes of humans that keep the world stable, yet ever-changing. I didn’t know what sort of value the degree held when deciding upon my major, but no education is wasted education.

So what do I plan to do with my BA in sociology? I am asked that question more times than I have creative answers, or answers that don’t lead to the faint response, “Ohhhh okay then.” This degree is what I make out of it. I have learned to market my sociology education to other areas that are unrelated but may yield for a promising career in the future. Such ways include the ability to analyze statistical packages, experience in social research, and disaster response studies.

If you like a set path for your life and do not prefer to “go with the flow,” do not major in sociology. It is not a defined and specific area of study that can be easily pasted onto a resume. It is what you make out of it, and I favor that fact. I do not prefer to know what lies ahead for my future and career because I know that I will be able to use the education, wisdom, and experiences of today to construct an ideal future.