Sociologist C. Wright Mills defined sociological imagination as having understood the use of sociology of one’s personal and societies issues and experiences (Gray 2012:1). In other words, if someone is going through a difficult time in their life, sometimes it is not by choice nor are they experiencing this event alone.
The individual’s life can be impacted by a societal condition. For example, If I were to lose my job I would see that as a personal issue. If I eventually learn that over 50,000 people in my community has lost their jobs as well, then that would be considered a societal issue.
Sociological Imagination has impacted me as a student at FAMU simply because of the Symbolic Interaction theory. This theory is the focal point of communication between individuals and symbols. We tend to act on these “symbols” based on the meaning we have given it. With this theory, we also must keep in mind, that our perceptions on these “symbols” never stay the same. They can change based on our environment, people, and experiences. My experience at an HBCU has shown me that in several situations, I have not been the only one going through specific issues alone.
Growing up, I was always being told that I had no other choice but to attend FAMU. Most times I hated the fact that I had no say in which school I wanted to attend. With knowing that I would be sharing a community with PWI students’, I had this negative feeling of failing or not being smart enough because I would be attending FAMU.
The first time I applied, I got denied. In the first semester, I failed two of my major courses and was put on a warning for probation. I tried again and now I am graduating in 3 months. Every time I had a problem, a solution always followed.
Today, I have a totally different feeling about attending my school. I have realized that I am human, I make mistakes, and I go through things that I can not control. This also applies to the students’ attending FSU. I have a friend, Maliya, that graduated from FSU and is now in London getting her master’s degree. She has gone through the same thing as myself but she never gave up. No matter what I decide to do with my career, I know that society will perceive me in its own way and that is okay.