…is not explained in two short sentences. But let me try anyway to give you some insights on my decision.
To clarify this for everyone upfront: At the moment I’m finishing my bachelor degree in Business Information Management in Stuttgart and will start a second bachelor degree in Sociology in Vienna in October. After I made my decision public a lot of people asked me why I’m doing this and what I can work as a “Sociologist“? (“Because you know I heard of this one quy who studied sociology and never found a job……”) I learned that the way I’m going is not a common one, which leads to a lot of questions, confusion and sometimes even to a lack of comprehension.
That’s why I want you at first to understand that it’s a classic stereotype that people who study something in the area of social sciences like Sociology don’t get a job at all. That’s just not true. In most cases the reason is not the field of studies but the people. Having knowledge about society, politics or education is nowadays in our complex world important for every company, organization and institution. The research people in these areas of science are doing is not only important for organizations but has a significant importance for everyone. Their insights and findings help us as humans to understand circumstances we often just label as “normal” and allow us to question traditional or usual behavior.
I had my first encounter with the field of sociology about a year ago. At this time I did some research around Corporate Social Responsibbilty (CSR) and within this search process I also read some papers from sociologists. As I never really had heard of sociology before I started to read more and more about it. I started buying and reading books like “Basic Course Sociolgy” by Hans Peter Henecka and “The Presentation of Self in Everday Life” by Erving Goffman – and believe it or not I just couldn’t stop to read! This was something really special for me. The last book I read was probably a book in high school I had to read for my A-level exams. I never liked reading that much – I thought it was a waste of time. But now it was different. I enjoyed it. Even at the point when books got more and more complex. By now the number of books in my bookshelf increased by 400% and they are still increasing. My book wishlist on Amazon grows everyday and unfortunately for me I would need to win some money in lottery to buy all of the books I would love to read.
Getting more and more interested in the field of sociology there was this dream of mine to study sociology. And yes, at the beginning it just was a dream rather than a real plan. I still was a little bit trapped in “common” and “normal” career and life patterns and thought “Can you just do that?” – It took me some more time to realize “Sure you can!“
If you want to do something just do it!
There will always be excuses you can make to yourself or arguments from people around you, telling you why this decision is not good, but on the strength of my past experiences the only way to find happiness in life is by doing what YOU want to do, not what pople want you to do.
After the decision was made I started to inform myself about universities that I could apply for. There were some in Germany like Heidelberg I probably would not have been accepted as my grades were not matching their high requirements in terms of grades. Other universities would have accepted me but I didn’t like the idea of living in these cities or studying at these universities. That’s why I started to look across borders in Europe and fell in love with University of Vienna. The city seemed awesome to me and I liked the histoy of the university. So I applied and enrolled myself there during a trip I took there in June this year.
Back to the question “Why am I doing this?” On one side there is my strong interest in the basic questions of sociology: “What is society and how does it all work together?” On the other side I see a lot of people who are not able to think out of the box nowadays. People are trapped in their constructed mindsets. Every idea or plan that doesn’t match exactly in these pre-defined schemes won’t be accepted and focused on. And no, I’m not saying that there are no people, companies, organizations or institutions out there which are doing a good job to thrive thinking out of the box, but they are a small minority.
Start thinking out of the box!
So what do I exactly mean by thinking out of the box and why is it so important in my opinion? Today we’re living in a highly differntiated society. We have various groups, subgroups and subsubgroups by which we can differntiate people. Even if we consider it as normal that we as an individual put people in groups to measure them up easily this kind of thinking opens the floodgates for stereotypisation. Thinking out of the box allows people to see something else than the standard, the normal, the common and enables to come up with new and innovative ideas to solve major challenges we face. In my opinion there’s an direct connection between thinking out of the box and progress and innovation. A true Innovation can only be made by someone who is able to see beyond the boundaries of common. The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein once said: “The limits of my language means the limit of my world” and I believe that’s the same for my thinking. The limits of my thinking are the limit of my world. Furthermore I’m confessed to the concept of knowledge and there is an adage: “Knowledge is power“, which is truly wrong in my opinion.
Knowledge is opportunity!
Yes, it’s right that’s it’s not 100% sure that knowledge will allow you to take every opportunity but for sure it will increase the chances.
And where is the connection now between thinkig out of the box and sociology? For me sociology is the “science of the second glimpse“. On the one hand the methods and theories will help me to face the struggle of stereotypisation and on the hand these studies will enable me to look at society and groups from totally new perspectives. These abilities will allow me to think out of the box, to question the common and to develop new ideas, concepts and methods to make our world a better place. This second degree is a huge opportunity for me in terms of thinking out of the box, knowledge and opportunities in life.
Embrace the challenge!