The first class was called Social Theory, which mainly dealt with the classic masterpiece of three renowned sociologists: Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber. Each of the three figures contributed to the discussion of sociology with their distinctive styles of writing. For Marx, he remained enthusiastic when depicting an elaborate grand picture of the capitalistic mechanism. For Durkheim, traces of Positivism emanated through his scientific clarification under girded by convincing statistics in the name of social facts. By contrast, Weber was more of a historian, who focused on the peculiarity of specific cases to draw conclusions on liable relations. Through the professor’s detailed instructions, not only did I obtain a preliminary understanding of what sociologists claimed, but I also got a grip on their respective methodologies.
After making a theoretical approach to the world of sociology, the course 'Methods for Social Research' revealed the current weapons that sociologists use to deal with contemporary problems in the real world. During the semester, three mock practices were conducted to acquaint us with the full gear of research. Ethnographic observation, in-depth interviewing as well as social experiments were selected as the goals we were tested to achieve. The thing I liked the most was we all had the discretion to identify our own research topics, devise conceptual and operational research questions, refine specific implementation details, collect and analyze data, as well as draw conclusions solely on what we got. The course ensured our freedom to the greatest extent, thus effectively boosting our motivation and confidence.
In the end, it turned out that I achieved favorable results in both courses. What I felt to be the most rewarding thing was not the letter grade on my transcript, but the progress I made concerning my skills and my character.
As my last tip, sometime the required courses of your major might be very informing. Enjoy!