Temidayo Jacob, a fresh Graduate of University of Ilorin, Kwara state, Nigeria shares on how majoring in Sociology has contributed to his making moment. Conversing with Applied Worldwide Contributor Ayodele Aduwo, he (Temidayo) in good conscience squints his bottled thoughts on the concept of sociology, much as he had learned and garnered from his line of experience.
This piece, like footsteps on the porch, seems lighthearted by its own giving, to create warmth and light for readers and students of Sociology, from a Graduate’s personal point of conviction. You can read insights from an undergraduate student of sociology in our article titled, Interview: Sociology from the Lens of an Undergraduate.
Majoring in Sociology as an Undergraduate
We are grateful to you for joining this conversation. Tell us more about yourself?
Thank you very much. My name is Temidayo Jacob. I am a fresh graduate of Sociology from the University of Ilorin. I am a seasoned Content Specialist and Digital Specialist, with experience in content marketing, web design, and digital branding. I am well known for my craft among my classmates and lecturers.
These, with my love for writing poetry, won me different recognitions like ‘Writer of the Year Award’ in school. I would like to add that I am an author of two micro-chapbooks. Finally, I am the Creative Director of The Foenix, a startup that addresses the unique challenges of the small business world, thereby providing for them remarkable solutions.
To start with, why did you choose to study Sociology?
I wouldn’t say I chose Sociology. Let’s say Sociology chose me. Initially, I applied for Mass Communication. But due to some factors, I was offered admission to study Sociology and I accepted it because I direly wanted to get into school. Then I decided to study what I was given. And to be honest, I have ended up loving Sociology so much.
Is majoring in Sociology as interesting as studying Music, Theatre Arts, or other performing arts?
So much! I have never studied those other courses, but whenever I look at how comprehensive, dynamic, and strategic the study of Sociology is, I would pick it over any other course anytime, any day. If Sociology was a movie, I would say it is Squid Game or Money Heist or some other interesting movie out there.
Can Sociology be applied to everyday life? Is it practical?
Yes. Everything I know and do today has been influenced by my study of Sociology. In my first year, my lecturer would say, “When you are done studying Sociology, you will be able to eat, speak, drink, wear, walk, and even breathe Sociology.” I never believed the “as a Sociologist, you can work anywhere in society” opinion until I got to apply Sociology to my everyday life and it worked. Sociology is very practical and its knowledge and understanding can be used to solve real-life problems in society.
Why would you recommend majoring in Sociology to high school leavers who are seeking admission into Universities?
Sociology is broad. It encompasses everything in society such as crime, politics, economy, law, family, mass media, health, religion, and other social processes. But why study Law, Political Science, Medicine, Economics, Criminology, and other courses only when you can learn them combined in Sociology in 4 years? It’s pretty simple. Sociology is magic, the theories, the ideologies, the empiricism, and even the objectivity in research even though there is always a touch of subjectivity. There is so much to learn under Sociology and honestly vast.
Experiences as an Undergraduate Majoring in Sociology
Share your experience, how has majoring in Sociology helped you as an undergraduate?
I am one of the few students who worked while studying, in my class. Sociology made me understands that there are so many problems in society, but if you are observant enough, you will find them and solve them gradually. My research and observation skills were sharpened by Sociology.
For my startup, I realized so many small businesses do not understand the relevance of having websites and employing content marketing in their business, and I decided to be a solution to that problem. I had a high grade in my final year thesis and that was because of Sociology. Generally, I would say Sociology made me a problem solver in all aspects of my life as an undergraduate and even now as a graduate.
Tell us about your students’ Sociological Association. What were your positions held and experiences?
Our student’s Sociological Association is known as the Nigerian Students Association of Sociological and Anthropological students (NSASA). Although I never held any position because I dislike politics, I had a great impact on the association. First, I became a part of the media team of the administration known as SOC Voice in my first year. This helped me become closer to the administrations while covering major news and stories about the association.
In my final year, a friend of mine became the president of the association and needed me to come through for him. I came through by being his personal writer and editor. That is to say, most of the press releases sent out during that period were either written or edited by me. I also helped to anonymously handle the department’s WhatsApp TV during that period. I am glad I contributed to the association in my way.
How has Sociology helped human societies in your view?
Sociology has helped human societies so much. From helping to understand history, Sociology has helped societies learn how to use the past to understand the present, and how to use the present to predict the future. For instance, the intense use of technology in the future and the high rate of unemployment have been predicted by Sociology but the solution to that remains in the hands of society. So yeah, Sociology helps human societies a lot.
What is Sociology as an academic discipline in Nigeria not doing enough in your view?
Sociology as an academic discipline in Nigeria is not paying enough attention to modern society. Things are changing and times are changing. However, Sociology as an academic discipline in Nigeria has refused to evolve. We still use old syllabuses and old notes. This is not supposed to be so. Sociology as an academic discipline in Nigeria is also not paying attention to new theories by modern scholars.
At a time when the use of technology is on the rise and it is influencing social development and human relationship, Sociology as an academic discipline in Nigeria should focus more on issues of the 21st century. We do not have to always talk about Auguste Comte, Max Weber, Karl Marx, and Emile Durkheim. We should be introduced to modern scholars who tackle modern issues. This would go a long way in rebranding Sociology and making it more interesting.
Something must have intrigued you about Sociology in one of your classes. Tell us about it?
Sociology in general is intriguing. It is a very wide and diverse field of study. Sometimes, I wonder how it is possible to learn all of those kinds of stuff in 4 years. Magic! In one of the classes, our lecturer made mention of Yoruba nations or kingdoms existing in places like Europe and America. I went home to do my research and saw more reasons to be grateful I was studying Sociology.
With majoring in Sociology, some people are of the belief that graduates of sociology rarely have organizations to work with or fields to work in. In what areas or careers can a sociologist work after studying?
A Sociologist can work anywhere! My lecturers have said it countlessly and I believe it. However, I am a testimony of the sincerity in that fact. Who is a Sociologist? A Sociologist is a problem solver in any given society. Problems are everywhere, the issue is, how prepared is the graduate who is to solve these problems. Having a Sociology degree prepares you to enter any area of work or any career path.
Sociology offers flexibility that makes it possible to change jobs, or even careers, multiple times in life. Personally, I can work as a Website Designer, a Graphic Designer, a Video Editor, a Content Creator, a Content Marketer, and even a Brand Development personnel.
So, you can work anywhere as a Sociologist – you just need to equip yourself beyond your degree. You can work in health, tech, finance, law, and even the entertainment industry. Now that skills are becoming more relevant than degrees, you just have to pick a problem and solve it strategically.
Would you say majoring in Sociology is difficult?
No. I would say my lecturers made it difficult to study. And I think this applies to every Sociology department in Nigeria. I know I am very brilliant, so entered the University thinking I would graduate with a first-class – but here I am with a second-class upper. It is really difficult to come out with a First Class, and if you do, you are a Super Star.
If at an instant you are required to share an idea from the learned sociological knowledge you have had, what topic will it be and why?
I would talk about the idea of Glocalization. Glocalization is the term used to describe something that is developed and produced locally which is also designed to be relevant to users or consumers in the global market. It involves using local resources to develop something that will facilitate development on a global level.
Glocalization gives local businesses wider reach to a bigger target market. A local product or service can influence the global market in the same way a global product or service can influence the economy of the local market. China does this. The USA does this. Japan does this. But why can’t Nigeria do this despite having so many resources? I believe if the country understands this idea very well, we would begin to see changes in popular thinking about developments in Nigeria and Africa at large.
Thinking Like a Sociologist
What does it mean to think like a sociologist on every topic, issue, idea?
This is where we get to talk about Sociological imagination. To think like a Sociologist means to think like a problem solver, to see things not just from the individual point of view but also from the general and societal point of view. For instance, a businessman might see technology as a good resource for his business in terms of saving time and money, but a Sociologist will see technology as a social problem because it will make more people jobless and unemployed. This does not mean a Sociologist is thinking backward – but that a Sociologist thinks first about the well-being of the larger society before the well-being of the individual.
In improving academic achievement in sociology classes, what and what have been the barrier?
The first barrier has to be the country itself. The government gives so little to the educational system that a lot of students enter the university with the mindset of “school is a scam.” Bad and really poor learning facilities and environment. Bad transport system. Inflation and financial problems too. Another barrier is the lecturers who kill the dreams of students in the first year.
You get threatened with the “A is for God, B is for me, and C is for the serious ones” ideology and that kills your dreams of wanting a first-class. Not giving excuses, I can as well call myself a barrier because I limited myself and stopped aiming higher after my dreams if graduating with a first-class was ruined in my first year.
What are the implications of these?
These barriers affected me both positively and negatively. They made me hate school and love school at the same time. Sometimes, I don’t go to classes because I thought whether I go or not, I would still get the same score. It was crazy. Along the line, I found myself doing something that keeps me happy and I decided to monetize it. So it kept me wondering if my lack of zeal for academic activities is a blessing in disguise because I might end up becoming more focused on the library rather than the real world if I had a first-class result from the onset.
What would be your recommendations?
Well, I would not say I have a particular recommendation because the same rules do not work for everybody. I would not say be focused on things happening in the classroom. I would not say be focused on things outside the classroom either. The best student in class today might not be as successful as you tomorrow. Wealth cannot be built in the library – except, of course, a wealth of knowledge. But since one of the end goals of every academic struggle is to gain wealth, I would just say find and follow what works for you.
Why is an academic achievement in sociology not about certificates?
You can get certificates anywhere. You can study any course in any university and get a certificate. But studying Sociology makes you different because you learn about social dynamics in their micro and macro forms.
Finally, what will you do with Sociology in your time to come?
Employing sociological studies and knowledge, I would solve social problems in my own way in the time to come. I am doing that on a small scale at the moment. Hopefully, there is an expansion that allows me to help society more and more. Despite it being a mental entity, human society is all we have and we cannot be selfish enough to live in beautiful isolation while society is out there burning.
Trust that you would be available to attend to our questions next time?
Yes, I would. Thank you Applied Worldwide.