DESCRIBE AND EXPLAIN YOUR DECISION TO ATTEND COLLEGE USING THE SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION The sociologist C. Wright Mills coined the term sociological imagination and wrote that this “enables us to grasp history and biography and to see the relations between the two within society” (Mills 1959:6). The sociological imagination allows us to see how problems that are experienced as personal, are actually social issues that are experienced by others who share similar social contexts. In order to understand those contexts, sociology ranges widely from how individual attributes (like race, class, gender, education, religion, and so forth) are associated with differences in life course outcomes, all the way up to the world of politics, government policies, technology and the global economy and environment. At the core of all social contexts is a distinction between social interaction and social structure. Think about these two separate ways of analyzing social context – on the one hand, social interaction – the rules and norms to which we respond when we interact with others – and on the other hand, social structure – the enduring hierarchies and institutions of society (e.g. marriage, family, education, and economic markets) and the organizations that organize and enforce these relationships and ways of living. Write an essay about your decision to select and attend college. Using your sociological imagination, identify how your social context (e.g. your family, your neighborhood, your social and economic status, your high school education) shaped your goals and preferences and the ultimate outcome. In the essay, identify how your biography is your own, while at the same time the ways that your life unfolds is shaped by your membership in a particular social world.