Am I a Sociologist Yet?

When I was a kid I wanted to be a singer, a marine biologist, a counselor, a dog walker, and probably a million other different things. Now, my goal is to be a sociologist. This is what I have spent the last four years of my life focusing on, but now I fear that I won’t know it when I get there I’m sure (and not-so-secretly hope) that I’m not the only person facing this existential crisis right now!

However, last Friday I think I saw a glimmer of hope. On April 28th, a group of sociology students and professors headed to Dubuque Iowa to present research at the Iowa Sociological Association. I was able to spend the day hearing a variety of presentations on an array of topics in the area of sociology: including homosexuality in churches, the glass ceiling for women working in academics, and the effects of labeling theory concerning drugs, sex work, and more. I also was able to present my senior paper through a program evaluation of a midwest prisoner reentry facility. These topics sparked brilliant conversation between all the sociologists (so everyone) in the room.

Here, I really felt like a sociologist. I was surrounded by people who aligned with what I was talking about and shared my same passion and enthusiasm. I could say that I want to work in a halfway house or in prisoner reentry and I didn’t feel the pressure to explain or justify my decision. Being approached by individuals asking questions after my presentation reaffirmed the importance of the research I have spent months working on.

I don’t have a diploma (yet) and I haven’t officially started working in the field but in this moment, I really feel like I’m doing what I’ve been working towards for what has felt like an eternity. Maybe I’ve been a sociologist for longer than I thought. Maybe I’m not quite there yet. Maybe I never will. If someone has the answers I’m all ears! Until then, I’ll just keep surrounding myself with the people and places that challenge me to keep stepping towards whatever a "sociologist" is, in hopes that one day I’ll get there!

Twelve students and three professors attended the Iowa Sociological Association conference on April 28th 2017.
Branna's senior paper titled "Program Evaluation of a Midwest Reentry Facility."

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  • May 4 2017 at 5:02 pm
    Ronald Ferguson!

    You are doing sociology, Branna! It was awesome to see you present the culmination of your work at the Iowa Sociological Association conference: the implementation of sociological theory, the artful way you employed methods, and the insightful discussion of your findings. You are doing, and on your way to doing, great things! I am very proud of you and honored to have you in our program. Bravo!