With the help of sociology, we can see the general patterns in a certain person’s behavior. Realizing that our particular life experiences are shaped by the general categories we fall into enables us to think sociologically. The sociological imagination helps us recognize that the forces of society play a role in shaping the lives of individuals.
While it would be fair to say my “choice” to go to college was purely person, nothing shaped my decision. However, I do believe that even though it was purely personal, I did make that decision in a social context. When I was a child, my parents wanted me to attend school so I would not have to struggle later in life. Since I was living in a small town, I believe it was the economic condition of my town and the lack of jobs that drove me to pursue a college degree. I guess my decision to attend college was somewhat given to me because it made me look at the bigger picture. If I did not make the decision to attend college, I would most likely have to leave my town because I would not find any job opportunities. Thus, my “choice” to go to college was greatly influenced by this lack of local economic stimuli because I wanted more and my town did not have what I was looking for, so I decided to earn a degree.
I believe that my narrative reveals the first steps in my development of my sociological imagination. When I looked at the bigger picture it was, in fact, the realization that social forces were at play in shaping my decision to go to college. Thus, my decision to attend college because of the lack of “local economic stimuli” was not a mere personal decision but a reaction against the social forces I perceived. So this is how sociological imagination applies to my college choice.
Berger, Peter L. Invitation to Sociology: A Humanistic Perspective. 1st ed. New York City: Anchor, 1963. Print.