Perhaps had I had them when I needed positive images, I would not have turned to heroin to self-medicate, but irrespectively, the decision to do so was mine alone. Because these issues have been so influential in my life, I have been motivated to understand the effects of modern culture on the mass media and vice versa. What is popular today, of course, will not be popular tomorrow unless there are some defining factors that contribute to their universal and timeless appeal. The foregoing television series are indicative of the prevailing social mores of the day, and even though it took some kicking and screaming from the American public, there has been a shift towards a more enlightened representation of people of all sexual orientations in the mass media in recent years.


Finally, like most people, education has been a significant source of socialization in my life. In truth, this socialization factor in inextricably interrelated to the aforementioned family support factor as discussed further below, but from the outset, schools have played a formative role in shaping my thinking and character. During my early schooling, issues concerning the importance of citizenship and scholarship became apparent, but there were also important lessons concerning gender roles and sexualization that were influential in my life. In retrospect, I actually enjoyed a somewhat privileged education compared to most young people attending public schools having attended private Catholic school for a full 12 years (grade school and high school, first St. Michael the Archangel in Levittown, Pennsylvania, then Conwell-Egan Catholic High School.

Academically, I thrived in this school environment and graduated in the top 20 of my class and succeeded in earning a full, 4-year scholarship to Pennsylvania State University. This scholarship was made possible in large part by the sacrifices that my mother and maternal grandparents made in paying the private-school tuition which, although modestly priced compared to more expensive institutions, was nevertheless a lot of money at times and the fact that my family helped keep me in these schools is proof positive of the significance of their socialization influence on my life.

Beyond these connections, though, schools have also played an important role in shaping my life in both negative and positive ways by compelling me to confront challenges and resolve them. The learning curve in many situations is steep, though, and resolving these challenges in ineffective or unhealthy ways inevitably results in adverse outcomes. Consequently, these positive and negative experiences will help me better understand the situations faced by similarly situated individuals in the future as I pursue a professional career. At present, I plan on transferring to Temple in 2014, where I will pursue my Master's degree in social work. Based on my personal and professional experiences to date, I want to work with young adults (16-25 years old), who have or are still having problems such as eating disorder, bullying, sexual conflict, or substance abuse or addiction.


While the debate over nature vs. nurture continues, a growing body of research confirms that people are influence by a wide range of socialization factors, including family, the mass media, and education. Although everyone is unique, it is reasonable to conclude that these three socialization factors are especially salient in everyone's lives, and they certainly have been in mine. While it is simple to rationalize failures in terms of the negative effect that these three factors have had in people's lives, the reality is that these effects are enormously complex and defy easy analysis. Therefore, it is important to understand the effects that socialization factors in general, and these three in particular, have in shaping peoples lives today.


Henslin, J. (2013). Sociology: A down-to-earth…