Five semesters in, I finally feel like I belong with Sociology. Much has to do with the way I constitute ideas. I don’t rush into asking questions, making judgments, or finding formulas. I prefer to tackle readings on a clean slate and allow them to settle into the subconscious, until it becomes necessary to link them together. Call it lazy – not entirely wrong – but this is my way of keeping an open mind.
The following list of recommendations is thus greatly conditioned by my own tastes, from module selection to curriculum to assessment to lecturing style. Not performance, though; my grades for these modules range from A+ to C. (!) As I don’t believe in pet topics or pet theorists, I am drawn rather unusually to more “methodological” modules. By this, I mean modules which contain an identity of their own that significantly stretches what I understand by Sociology.
Unlike most courses, Sociology confers much freedom to its students. In NUS, only 4 modules are compulsory, with a 3-way choice for another (slight variations by cohort). That leaves about 18 major modules to the discretion of the Honours student. This suits me great!
Picking modules is one of the simple pleasures of my academic life (no life). Even before my matriculation, I’d drafted my module plan for all 8 semesters (really no life). In my defence, it is necessary planning! You won’t want to leave your rendezvous to happenstance, or discover belatedly you attended the wrong dates and missed the right ones for good!
Yet despite my deafening desire for control within, I could never enforce an iron fist. With each new semester, I change my mind. It got insane in my 4th semester, when I turned back on ALL 3 of my prior picks and opted for 2 different ones. That semester just ended, and both modules now rank among my favourites.
Why is that the case? Here are 4 factors in play, from the practical to the idealistic:
In my introductory class to sociology, I was told that back in the 1960s, one needed higher grades to pursue an Arts/Social Sciences degree than a Law degree. Law? LOL are you kidding me? It drew gasps all around. I had no way to verify it, but basic sociological reasoning informs me that grade requirements can easily change in response to larger economic demands.
[context: social sciences]
The model answer, of course, is learning. But maybe the zealous in us needs a little taming. Could it be wiser to actually study for grades?