*** Originally Published on Engaged Sociology by IUP Department of Sociology***
What does it mean to be a sociologist? This is a question that I have spent the last seven years of my life trying to answer. We know how to define sociology; but what does it mean to be a sociologist? Here is my take on this question. Being a sociologist is in many ways like being a superhero. Everyone who comes into the field has an origin story of how they became a sociologist (or a sociology major). They have experiences that acted as a calling to this field, and that act as a motivation or a drive which allows them to do the work that they do. Also, everyone in the field has unique skill sets, which are kind of like superpowers, that allow them to tackle pressing social issues present in society.
Although sociologists, like superheroes, are unique in many aspects, one way in which they are all alike is how they discover and present information about social phenomena. The primary way that sociologists communicate about the world is through the research process. Constructing a research project at first can seem like a rather daunting task, especially to an undergraduate student who has never done something like this before. But, it is something that can be accomplished with ease (well, hard work). In this paper, I discuss my own origin story that explores not only how I became a sociologist but also how I found a passion for research. I then talk about how I used that passion to create and develop my own original research project that I presented and refined until I reached a thesis topic for my master’s program.