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Applied Sociology

I’m a double major at Fontbonne. Primarily, I identify as one of the small handful of Advertising majors on Fontbonne’s campus. However, I’m also one of the even smaller handful of Applied Sociology majors. Please, allow me to talk about both.

I was fairly uncertain of where I wanted to go in high school. Ultimately, I had two main careers in mind. The first was the life of the advertiser, a dream inspired by Erin Dwyer, the mother of a friend I grew up with as well as someone I’ll have the pleasure of working with over this summer through an internship. The second was the life of the electrical engineer, inspired by my dad’s engineering and my own fascination with electricity in general. Fortunately, my high school (Penfield High in Rochester, NY) offered a variety of classes that allowed me to explore both. I can’t remember the exact names of either, but essentially one was on constructing basic electric set-ups, from housing wiring to circuit-board soldering. The other was a basic advertising design class, which allowed me to explore creative avenues through various mediums. While I really enjoyed both classes, I ultimately realized that advertising was where I was more comfortable. (Doing horribly in calculus also suggested that engineering was NOT the way to go…) With advertising in mind, it didn’t take too long to find Fontbonne and its unique interdisciplinary advertising program.

However, senior year of high school, I also took an intro to Sociology course. I fell in love. Alas, I knew this love could not grow; I didn’t think sociologists could make any money ever, and so I gave up the idea of changing majors. Then, I came to Fontbonne. I discovered “Applied Sociology”—Sociology that focuses on using sociological theory instead of developing it, so that sociologists can enter the workforce outside of academia. Incredible! I met with my advisor and discovered that picking up this second major would also require no extra credit hours; several requirements for both applied sociology and advertising overlapped, and the rest simply fulfilled elective requirements!

I couldn’t be happier. As an advertiser-to-be (with any luck), I see a lot of value in being able to market myself as a double major; my understanding of others and my skills learned through applied sociology will complement and strengthen my abilities as an advertiser.

I was fortunate enough to know what I wanted to do. Not everyone comes into college with a career in mind. Well—what’s your destination?

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Advising week is approaching. How do I know? Aside from the obvious notification in our student planners, I can tell because the Fall 2010 course guides have begun to circulate. Like heralding angels before Christ’s birth or fleeing animals before the hunter—depending on how you want to look at it—they have flooded into Ryan hall. I snagged my copy as soon as I had heard they were out and quickly poured into the newspaper-esque pages, identifying which classes I would want or need for next year and hashing out a potential schedule.

I love advising week. It delights me. After being in the same classes for some ten weeks, the promise of a new, different future that I can control is nothing short of exhilarating! Don’t get me wrong—I enjoy my classes now, as much as one can enjoy a perpetual flow of work! But all the same, planning out what my next step will be is so satisfying. What can I say? I love the sense of control!

When I was a freshman, figuring out my courses required identifying what gen eds (general education requirement courses) I wanted to take care of and deciding on which section of the class to sign up for, since there were multiple sections. Now that I’ve conquered the majority of my gen eds, I’m left only with higher-level, specialized courses in a variety of fields. So, unfortunately, it’s become less of a building block game where I casually pick my pieces, and more of a careful, delicate art where I try to guess what courses will fit around each other and what courses will be offered next semester, so I can avoid conflicts. It’s demanding—but satisfying, like completing any logic puzzle or Sudoku challenge.

Looks like next semester, I’ll balancing my two majors evenly: Copywriting and Persuasion for Advertising, and Statistics for Behavioral Sciences and Social Problems for Applied Sociology, with Diversity and Social Justice satisfying a requirement for both. All in all, that’s only 15 hours, which is average. I could’ve put off Diversity and Social Justice until next semester, but frankly, with only 12 hours I’d get bored and restless!

Registration isn’t for another week or three, but I’m ready! What have you done to plan your future?

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