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Socialization is an important aspect of every person’s life which impacts one’s perceptions, choices, and morals among others. It allows to establish a social identity which fits within an inequitable social system, and for many it is critical to adhere to that identity based on race, religion, socioeconomic class and a myriad of other defining characteristics (Harro, n.d.). Following the cycle of socialization introduced by Harro, aspects of my life will be examined to identify the influences which brought me to this point and continue to guide me further.
Decision to Attend University
Various aspects of my life influenced the decision to attend Marquette University. It is an institution which values its religious roots and values. At Marquette University I was able to find my passions in life, pursue any interests, and dedicate myself to a chosen career. The first step of socialization had a great impact on my decision, particularly my family. From an early age, my parents influenced me positively, helping me to establish personal values which reflected my faith as well as humanitarian and ethical contexts. I trusted my family and they entrusted me as well, establishing a comprehensive system of support. It is normal in childhood for family communication patterns and environments to heavily influence the development of particular attitudes, based on parental conformity orientations and social identification (Odenweller & Harris, 2018). As a result, when selecting the university, I was drawn to it because I felt it provided me with the environment that was necessary. I felt the safety, comfort, and trust on a similar level that I did with my family, establishing bonds with my peers and building a future.
Institutional and cultural socialization played a role as well in the selection of this university. Through my church and community, I formed a social identity which valued scholarship and research which was combined with the ethical and societal norms reflecting Christian values. I encountered several alumni in my community who attended the university, which further influenced my pursuit of education at this university. Finally, enforcement and results played a role as I dedicated myself to academics at school and afterward, allowing me to apply and be accepted to Marquette University, extending my scholarly and extracurricular opportunities.
Influences on Course of Study
The institutional and cultural socialization stage in the cycle is probably the most influential in choosing my course of study in philosophy. Social and cultural institutions play a tremendous role in shaping human behavior. The cultural impacts of my background and religion have led me to consider some of the most fundamental questions about my life and overall human existence and morality, which is strongly why I am driven to study philosophy. While such aspects as my religion, community, and socioeconomic class formed my system of beliefs, it also allowed me to have the basic comforts of life so I could consider and focus my thoughts on philosophical topics and pursue my passions. Fortunately, I have not had to face stigmatization or struggles of poverty and racism which would have likely formed different perspectives on society and life. In turn, I am fascinated by this difference, and philosophy and sociology allow me to participate in intercultural communication to gain a broader understanding of the human condition.
Having the answers to all knowledge and answers is a double-edged sword. At one end, it is positive and provides us with greater control and understanding, but at the other, it limits the process of growth. Perhaps the most important question that most humans face is “Am I following the right path?” Another question would be, “Are the people in my life the right people for me?” Finally, I would ask, “Are my values and morals correct?” These are complex and abstract questions, which cannot arguably be answered with a binary answer. However, an understanding of these concepts within the context of the cycle of socialization can greatly contribute my overall comprehension of association, values, and the future path that I have chosen. There is always an inherent debate of whether an individual has free will or follows a predetermined path. The philosophy of determinism argues that the future is shaped through a combination of past events and natural forces, neither of which a human can influence (Berofsky, 2015). Similarly, the cycle of socialization suggests that actions and choices are somewhat predetermined by influences and social contexts.
It is evident that various aspects and influences in life have greatly contributed to my personal choices in academics. Using the Cycle of Socialization principle developed by Harro, I can examine my life to determine how my identity has shaped within the contexts of life events, interactions, and institutions. Considering that all individuals are continuously immersed in this cycle, based on this knowledge and understanding, I can have greater control of my life and challenge certain conceptions or social identity. As a result, this reflects on my choices and behavior, I either engage with self-destructive and negative emotions or choose to pursue a path that helps disrupt oppression and the status quo.
Berofsky, B. (2015). Determinism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Harro, B. (n.d.). The cycle of socialization. Web.
Odenweller, K. G., & Harris, T. M. (2018). Intergroup socialization: The influence of parents’ family communication patterns on adult children’s racial prejudice and tolerance. Communication Quarterly, 66(5), 501–521. Web.