CLEP tests. In order to get my degree in economics I have to take other social science credits, I guess I should be passingly familiar with psychology if I'm looking at behavior and probably should be somewhat familiar with sociology if I'm discussing gender pay gaps. For two dollars at the thrift story I got a copy of Society:The Basics and read it in lieu of taking a sociology course.
I do love sociology, I can see why students end up thousands of dollars in debt with a degree they can't use to pursue an in depth knowledge of the subject. I thought that each of the chapters was fascinating. I liked learning about how we define gender roles, family structures and was completely engaged by the discussions of social conflict theory. It was good to take a look at all of the structure in my life that I take for granted and realize how much of it is just there by general agreement between me and the people around me. We know that is the case because other societies manage things differently.
As I was reading through the book, trips to the mall took on whole new levels of meaning. What does it mean when you see someone with a polo shirt, or a boyfriend that is shorter than her? Why are teenagers usually in large groups but adults rarely so? Why is that person dressed all in black? The style of clothes that go along with the black can create totally opposite meanings. At the beach I saw a huge pile of cigarette butts in front of a bench. 30 years ago when smoking was just a characteristic and not a sign of deviance, would smokers have littered as much?
That's exactly what I love about education. I love it not for the questions it answers, but for the questions it makes you ask.