Who am I? A Socialization Story

Interactions come in the many forms of customs and normailities. Customs are certain behaviors that are geographically special or particular to a group of people. These customs are often socially acceptable ways of showing respect and courtesy to another fellow member of society and groups within those societies. The social norms particular to a group of people is a special identity. These interactions have become interesting to us over centuries and studies have been done on these patterns in humans. A question that we hear whether at a job interview or an interaction between those who never met is, “who are you?”

After joining the Military I pondered at the different groups I observed that bonded much closer and more quickly than others. One example was that people who were from larger states such as Texas and California, had tighter knit groups of people who bonded simply from belonging to those states. People from Texas are often associated with the outdoors and football. Whereas People from California are associated with the arts and a fascination with the local spin on Mexican cuisine. People in these respective groups formed a bond right from the beginning on these similarities.

Growing up in rural Pennsylvania presented me with a unique challenge socializing and fitting in with these groups of people. Learning the way people from different parts of the country talk was an exciting adventure. Someone from Brooklyn, New York might have a way of saying something whereas someone from Chicago, Illinois might find that offensive or have different terminology. Being in a unique organization like the Military you not only have one role professionally (rank), but you also have your social role. People tend to interact with people who possess the same social norms because it’s easier to obtain an identity or role within the group.

Being a family member a few of my roles are a son, brother, cousin, and grandson to name a few. Growing up I had an identity crisis while trying to compete with my older sister. My older sister was very athletic and very smart in her school work. While trying many different sports to excel and compete on a level of my sister I found I was not cut out for athletics. The only way I could match her was excelling in the classroom. Not achieving two goals of my role model made me feel a sense of false consciousness. The concept of false consciousness is defined according to our textbook as a personal belief that is in conflict with his best interest (openstax,2017).

Belonging to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is a peer group that meets the needs of its members and those who are veterans not part of the organization. The VFW takes care of veterans needs and also lobbies the government for laws and regulations that both benefit veterans and protect them. While volunteering my free time we raise money and awareness for the club and it has helped me set aside my interests for a moment while helping others for a better cause. This social agent has morally developed me into continuing a selfless service outside of the military.

School is an extremely important agent of socialization and also addresses the nature and nurture concept. From the preschool era through high school, we are taught various forms of structure. Discipline is not just the way you behave, but the way you program yourself into making decisions. Making good decisions for example studying and being involved in extracurricular activities brings numerous opportunities to build upon. This structure has led me to a rewarding experience in the military.

Higher education is also a social agent. Enrolling myself into college courses upon completing a contract in the military has also presented its own unique challenges. For example I am at the mercy of my own schedule to complete assignments and study for exams. I am not required to travel as I was in my previous career to attend my work stations. This is a known process called resocialization.

Socialization is formed by the agents and interactions that we experience daily. We as humans need social norms or unwritten rules to guide us. Some of these agents might be geographically unique, however, they all show a respectful way of understanding one another.