Discovering your purpose through your classes: An in-depth look into a sociology capstone course

deeper look into a sociology course at Canisius can help students find their purpose as well as connect with classmates.

SOC 432 is a great way to explore careers in sociology, taught by Dr. Erin Robinson, pictured above.

By Cameron Lareva

College is a time of exploration and freedom, yet simultaneously a constant pressure to find the perfect career path looms over everyone’s college career. This is a very challenging process and can often be overwhelming to students. Fortunately, Canisius College is stocked with a multitude of courses that provide students an opportunity to explore and visualize their possible futures. Upper level courses that undertake a rigorous exploration into a field of study are often the most impactful. Theories in Sociology, SOC 432, does just that for senior Canisius sociology students. 

Theories in Sociology is a level 400 course offered every fall semester through the sociology department. The course is taught by Dr. Robinson, a Canisius sociology professor, and is designed for senior sociology majors. The course serves as a capstone for the cumulative sociology coursework completed by the students in the department. However, it also provides an introduction into advanced discussion and study of sociological theory. 

The course is rooted in discussion and analysis of reading material, and is highly impacted by the student interaction in class. Students gain a deeper understanding of both classical and contemporary sociological theory, and there is a strong emphasis on the practical application of theory to modern society. Alex Nowicki ‘21, senior sociology major, said, “I enjoy the atmosphere of the class because we can discuss nearly anything while still respecting everyone and their own opinions.” 

Students in the class find it provides them with an opportunity to both grow their knowledge of sociology and explore what they can do with their education. Sociology has a theoretical side, such as graduate school and research, but also a practical side, such as social services and policy work. Students are able to practice applying the theory to current social issues and reflect on what role sociology plays in understanding these issues. Nellie Arce ‘21, senior sociology and criminal justice dual major, said, ”On the first day of class, Dr. Robinson asked us why sociology matters, and it made me think a lot about what I want to do with my education in sociology and how I’m going to use it in my future career.” 

The class also offers connections to the entirety of students’ education at a liberal arts college. Discussions and content promotes the utilization of sociology course content, but also encourages students to bring in aspects of their liberal arts education and lived experiences at Canisius. Nowicki ‘21 said, “I enjoy learning about different theories and how they apply to the real world problems as it is essential in creating your own stance and opinions about things like politics and social problems.” 

Theories in Sociology is a course enjoyed by sociology students, as it provides a space where they can continue to hone their sociological skills, reflect on their education, and gain practice at the application and advanced level of sociology.

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