Sociology: Gaining deeper understanding and helping my community

Ruth Stevenson reflects on her motivation to study sociology and her experience so far. 

Studying for a degree in Sociology at Northumbria, has so far turned out to be a more exciting and rewarding experience than I ever could have imagined. As a mature student, I came to study Sociology as a result of personal circumstances leading to an increased awareness of the challenges many of us face in modern society. Public service cuts due to austerity measures have, in recent years, torn through my local community, leaving many in dire circumstances. Those most vulnerable – the young, sick, unemployed, ethnic minorities and struggling families – are enduring the worst of austerity, suffering the loss of vital support services such as legal and welfare rights, as well as cultural and educational support, libraries, children’s centres, and early years’ support for families with young children. Campaigning for action and change in my local community led me to the logical step of higher education with a view to gaining a deeper understanding of social issues and the impact social policies and social structure have upon individuals and communities. With a comprehensive understanding of society and its institutions, I will be better equipped to support others.

Northumbria University Sociology department have given me the perfect platform from which to leap into the world of Sociology. Bringing the Sociological imagination to life in historical and contemporary context, from early 19th century theory to global 21st century issues, lectures and seminars spark debate and discussion and inspire me to further research to gain a contextual and more nuanced understanding of society. Each new topic and module, I know, will add to my comprehension. The lecturers and tutors have so far offered unprecedented support and sound constructive feedback, I feel engaged in the subjects and enthusiastic about learning, going into the second semester, as I have gained so much in the first, not only knowledge but new friendships and a new-found confidence.

The opportunity to apply for a bursary donated by a former Sociology graduate has been a highlight of my time at Northumbria so far. When I was successful in my application I found myself overwhelmed, not only at the obvious generous financial support, which is extremely welcome and will be immensely helpful to me, but also the knowledge that those who have studied Sociology and have been successful in their field continue to strive to make a difference, and continue to have the desire to help those who also feel compelled to understand and improve society. For this I am enormously grateful.

Ruth Stevenson is an undergraduate in Northumbria’s Sociology programme