02 June 2009

Mommy, wow! I'm a big kid now!

First of all, can we talk about how proud I am that I made a masthead? I mean, just look at it! I made that all by myself. Okay, I had to seek advice from my GIMP guru friend Concep, who rocks. The background image is from Texture King, which I found while looking through mastheads created by my friend EmLocke. So, I had a little help from my friends. (I had to say it.) But for real, I made that! I think it’s decent for my first attempt, especially after fighting with GIMP for so long. At the moment I plan on making a new masthead every month, but we’ll see how that goes.

In other news, have I mentioned that I am the proud owner of a college degree? That’s right, I have a B.A. in sociology. What am I going to do with a degree in sociology, you may ask. You wouldn’t be the first to ask that question. And the answer is … debatable. Honestly, there are lots of things you can do with a B.A. in sociology, especially depending on what you study. For example, I took classes relating to criminology which would be useful if I worked with rehabilitated prisoners. Sociology is the study of society, so the general concepts can be applied in every area.

Now that I’ve given you a little spiel about the merits of sociology, what do I actually want to do with my degree? If the perfect job were to fall into my lap, I would be working with a human rights organization in a city (NYC comes to mind), but I would be traveling to other countries to investigate human rights violations. I would be working with refugees & people seeking asylum. I would be helping survivors of trauma, such as rape & torture. Basically, I would be doing a little bit of everything I’ve had experience in so far. (Well, I haven’t had experience with the traveling to other countries/investigating violations … yet.)

I’ve had wonderful opportunities in the past seven years to work with great organizations & get experience in the areas that interest me. I first got involved with Amnesty International as a member & very soon after leader of a student group. Then I started volunteering with the organization on a state-wide level and then on a regional level. I served in two different positions, one was working with other student groups & the other was acting as the point-person on an individual case. I learned a lot about the inner workings of an organization & honed my skills as an activist.

Last year my primary purpose in London was an internship. I was placed at a wonderful organization which worked on HIV & AIDS policy. As a member of the policy team, I researched how the destitution of asylum seekers affects HIV & AIDS – how positive asylum seekers are put at more of a risk without the right to work & with poor housing conditions, as well as how the lack of those things can put negative asylum seekers at more of a risk to become positive. I learned even more about the workings of an organization since I was right in the middle of everything. I had a more hands-on experience & although I was only there for four months, I did a lot since I was there on a full-time schedule.

My most recent experience has been becoming a rape crisis counselor. I went through a 50-hour training throughout the fall & became certified in December. I started working on the hotline (three 6-hour shifts a month) in January. I’m also interested in training to become a legal advocate for survivors of sexual assault. More so than any of my other experiences, my training at the rape crisis center constantly reminded me of sociology classes. Societal beliefs are at the core of sexual assault, so this connection should come as no surprise.

So, I see my education through the sociology department as an addition to & extension of my education through these experiences. I feel that I learned more by studying society than through studying international relations. (While I did walk away with valuable lessons from my minor, I struggled with ideas of diplomatic bullshit viewed to be more important than elemental human rights.) Wait, did I cycle back to the merits of sociology? I’m only a little in love with the field.

I don’t know for sure where my degree will take me & I don’t know when I’ll be able to land the type of job that I want. What I do know is that just as I fell into the right place at the right time when I first joined Amnesty International, I’ll find myself in the right place at the right time sooner or later in the job market. The thought of being a real person with a real job in the real world is terrifying, but I’m happy to have the opportunity to experience and learn more.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so happy someone finally made use of my resources page and I'm happy to be "[your] friend EmLocke"!

    Pssst—you can hyperlink the text with the URL. Use this code if you're editing in HTML mode: [a href="http://www.emlocke.com"]EmLocke[/a] (replace [ and ] with < and >) or use the button with the chain link icon if you're editing in WYSIWYG mode.