By Ambika Narula
During his college years in California, a young Daniel Wilson took a class about sociology. Originally a marine biology major, Wilson changed his major to sociology and developed a whole new perspective on the world surrounding him.
At first, he was interested in San Diego’s issues as a big city. “I couldn’t really understand [sociology] because I didn’t have a language for it. When I took sociology, it takes time to form a macro view and it gives a language and research to it. It really opened my eyes because all of a sudden, what I have been witnessing my whole upbringing, it started to make sense to me,” Wilson said.
Sociology is the study of social problems and the development, structure and functioning of human society. As Wilson continued his studies in sociology, he began looking at life from a sociological perspective. “Personally, it can be really challenging, I can’t help but look through that lens. It’s exhausting, rather than just simply looking at the something, just enjoying something I’m just turning it over and over. Peeling back the layers of every little thing,” he said.
Even though the lens can be a burden at times, it can also be a great tool for society. “When I apply the lens, it’s liberating, sometimes it’s depressing, as we peel back the issues, on one issue it doesn’t look so rosy anymore but that’s liberating to me because now when we address a certain issue on society we’ll know how to do it properly,” Wilson said.
After finishing his undergraduate degree, Wilson began working in landscaping due to his love of the outdoors. Eventually, he stumbled into a substitute teaching position for 8th grade science classes. From there, Wilson found something he enjoyed. After substitute teaching, he went on to teach at an alternative high school, “It was flexible, more loose. I had some more freedoms with the curriculum and such. I felt like I was good at it,” he said.
After some time at the alternative high school, Wilson attended graduate school for additional training in sociology and teaching. Once he completed his graduate degree, Wilson taught at San Diego State University. “It was my first teaching gig, teaching sociology and it just clicked. I loved it,” he said.
Eventually, Wilson made his way across the country to Montgomery College. First, he taught at the Rockville campus, but he now teaches in Germantown. Among the different sociology professors at Montgomery College, many have varied teaching styles influenced by their experiences and passions. “If you’re looking at the introductory level, there are basics and I know there [are] two professors; they both use a different textbook. The basic concepts are going to be the same. Textbook authors and professors will stress different things, things they may feel are little more interesting or more they know a little more about.”
According to Wilson, the biggest sociological issue affecting the country today is the environment. To work towards solving this issue, it’s important to tackle one problem at a time, he said. “We look towards technology to solve our problems and I think that is a small part of how to go about it, therefore a lot of environmental solutions are really social in nature and technology can’t really fix that… Problems were created from social relationships, different types and can be solved by changing those relationships,” he said.