Tanya Sweeney

Irish Independent Columnist

When I started my Arts degree in NUI in 1994, I had precious little idea what sociology entailed. All I knew that it was the study of human society; as a member of that very society (most of the time), I figured it would be pretty useful. Little did I know what a gloriously steep learning curve it would be; through the course, I learnt how to pick apart social phenomena and examine them from an entirely new perspective. Marxism, anomie, modernisation, urbanisation, tourism studies; the course ran the proverbial gamut, and I emerged a much different and more informed person for it. As it happened, Sociology was the perfect grounding for a media career; it gave me an enquiring and socially curious mind that remains one of my biggest assets as a journalist. The media studies section of the course was a revelation; I had always been a voracious consumer of the media, but had scant idea of its inner workings. I learnt how influential and dynamic an industry the media is, and it certainly sparked my interest in crossing over from audience member to insider. Social analysis is part of who we are; I guess we are all, to some degree, sociologists. I'm just glad that thanks to this department, I now have the tools to be a better one.