The following are reflections from of few recent graduates about the ways studying sociology and anthropology at Cornell has shaped their thinking and attitudes.

Made me an active analyst

“Before sociology and anthropology, I thought of culture as this separate entity that people happen to partake in. I never realized to what extent we are products of this social and cultural shaping. I never questioned consumerism. I never questioned sexuality or the way we think about sex and gender. I never questioned why we eat certain foods and why we eat those foods the way we do. I never questioned why we bury our loved ones the way we do. Essentially, I have learned that everything I thought was a matter of natural fact is actually a social and cultural construction. It has been a lengthy journey to wrap my mind around that fact, but it has made me an active analyst about everything that I observe.”  Sarah Haughenbury ‘13

More than just cost benefit ratios

“I grew up in a small, rural, working class community in Southern Iowa. Almost all of my friends entered the workforce immediately after they left school. They became farm workers, factory linemen, or truck drivers. After graduating high school neither my parents nor I thought I would ever go to college. No one in my family had ever had any secondary education, or felt it was necessary for that matter…When I started out my college career, getting a bachelor's degree in sociology was the last thing on my mind…By the end of my freshman year I hated coming to class...It seemed there were no other individuals with backgrounds similar to mine. I sincerely considered dropping out of school and going home to the factory and bar. While all these thoughts were going through my head, I began to take my first sociology class. I instantly felt a connection... It was a field that looked at more than just cost benefit ratios and instead examined how the world really works. I knew then and there this was something I was going to spend the rest of my life studying.”  Levi Teitsworth ‘12

I recognize the inequalities present in our society

“For me the social world is now both less of a mystery and more of a mystery at the same time. Actually, it is more shocking to me as I easily recognize the inequalities present in our society. Especially after courses like Media and the Public Mind and Race and Ethnic Relations I find myself being more critical of power and dominance and more compassionate toward the unequal treatment of certain social groups. I certainly take the information I hear or see with a grain of salt these days.”  Alissa Benjamin ‘10