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Analysis Of The Sociological Imagination in Relation to The Topic Of ‘The University’

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Exploring the impact of social class on adjustment to college: Anna’s story, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 20: 1, 99-119. From reading this article, it focusses on many sociological aspects of what university is like for students. The article focusses mainly on social class and how this affects an individual who comes from a different social class background. An example of the sociological imagination in relation to this article is social class and this research article explores many issues students faced when coming from different social class backgrounds.

The article focused mainly on Anna’s story of attending Mountain College. Anna was a very academic student, she achieved highly in school and later finishing her exams she received a scholarship for Mountain College which was located outside where she lived. Anna’s family where middle class, her father passed away when she was seven and this immediately affected her relationship with the Hispanic side of the family as her mother was of white decent and her father was Hispanic, due to her fathers passing she grew up learning no Spanish and therefore could not communicate with her extended family who were Hispanic. Anna identified as mostly of white decent. When she started attending college at Mountain, many pressures began to emerge. She described how her social class affected her in college. Since Anna was middle class this required her to work at Wendy’s to pay her way through college.

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Money was a big issue for Anna’s family and this was due to her social class background. Anna discussed how her roommate was her only friend in college and how having a job outside college really affected her ability to get involved and make new friends in college. Anna had to work late at night sometimes until 2am. While Anna was out working earning money everyone else would be doing extracurricular activities, they were able to make friends, but Anna could not as she didn’t have the time. Annas roommate was wealthy, her roommates’ parents seemed to pay for everything and because of this she was able to attend activities and take her time with college unlike Anna. Annas story is a great example of sociological imagination as it shows us the bigger picture behind her struggles in college. This story from Annas life describes and shows how being in a middle-class situation in society can affect directly your college experience.

The focus of this article was to examine why some students experience college differently to others. The reason behind the unshared experiences between some students is all down to the bigger picture behind the problem that exists in colleges, the problem of social class. Lack of economic capital and social capital. Bourdieu’s theory of Habitus and field can be applied in Annas story about college life. College meant a lot to Anna but making friends and being involved in activities meant more to her. Anna wanted to feel more connected and included in college. Having friends in college was a very personal necessity of hers, as all her friends were at home in her hometown. From this article about Annas experience at Mountain College, we can learn from her experience that socialization is a fundamental part of college. Getting involved and being part of societies or groups can make college more enjoyable, it is not only the academic part that matters. Annas experience portrays how her middle-class background impeded her creating new friendships and connecting with people due to her lack of time in her life to participate. From her story we can grasp the bigger picture.


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