I just finished my freshman year of undergrad, and it pretty much confirmed that I want to go into sociology and teach at the college level for a living. I know it’s super early to start planning, but I figure it’s best to start now if programs want to see sustained, meaningful research by the time I apply.
As of right now, I’m double majoring in sociology and computer science, and I’ll probably end with a GPA around 3.85 (8 As, one B in a CS course). I spent most of my year trying to plan for a career in CS, ignoring my reservations about pursuing it as a career path (namely that I like studying it, but can’t imagine doing it for the rest of my life). As a result, I haven’t really done any of the legwork that would help get me admitted in the long run. I’m a student organizer and a Peer Educator on social justice issues, but I have no clue what I actually want to focus on academically.
Here’s what I’m thinking I should focus on:
1) Narrowing down research interests somewhat. I think I’d like to do something that relies on heavy quantitative work (see: my second major), but other than that I really don’t know. Everything I learn seems really interesting. How can I go about narrowing my focus, even just a little?
2) Reaching out to professors/grad students(?) to do research. I assume I should have some idea of what kind of research I want to do, though. Should I be sending (informed, specific) emails this summer already?
3) Making meaningful connections with professors. In general, I end up becoming friendly with professors who teach smaller classes and find myself a little lost when it comes to pursuing those relationships in lecture halls. I attend a very large research university, though, so any advice on how to make those connections would be much appreciated.
4) Figuring out what job prospects are like, or what a PhD in sociology translates to outside of academia. This is more of a parental concern; they support me, but they’re nervous because I’ve been honest with them that tenure track jobs aren’t easy to acquire. I know some sociologists go the business route, but I don’t think I could do that. Does anyone have insight as to where there’d be information on other career paths?
Sorry this is so long! Any advice would be much appreciated.