While New York is on Pause, Diana Halstead, College Experience and CareerNext Admissions Coordinator developed a new class for our students to attend virtually.  Diana has a sociology degree and students had requested a photography class. With the help of internet resources, Diana was able to combine both subjects to launch a unique class called, “Selfie Photography” that the students are taking through Zoom while home with their families.

To keep students engaged in learning, Diana provides activities and encourages students to make a hobby out of taking photographs during their free time. There are lively discussions about social media and the impact it plays within our society. The students often debate the pros and cons to everything including excessive social media.

Each time the students get together there are different topics to discuss. One day they focused on how social media and “selfies” are impacting the economy and how there are different types of tourism activities that have popped up. People now pay for selfie tours and different accessories such as how to take the best selfies. Another day they looked at the impact that social media and selfies have had on art. Many art galleries have created interactive platforms so selfies can be taken and uploaded to social media so more people want to visit the galleries. There are definitely social norms around taking selfies and what is appropriate, as well as some examples of breaking those social norms.

Diana teaches the students in her class how social media and selfies can also be empowering. There are definitely some activists who are using social media to raise awareness of their cause, which may empower other people to feel good about themselves and get involved in something they are passionate about. Another thing Diana asks the students to do every time they meet is take a different type of photo. The students are invited to share the photo every time they meet and the themes match what they are talking about that particular day. In the spirit of remaining positive, the students take photos of things that bring happiness to them. They also photograph personal traits they are proud of and recently had an assignment to take a photo of something they are good at and feel good about. When the class meets, they send the photos ahead of time to their classmates while describing what the photo represents to them and why they chose it.

Something Diana Halstead tries to put into any class she teaches is offering perspective. Our students tend to be pretty empathetic, and they often have a certain understanding why someone may post a certain photo. As Diana states, “Creating more self-awareness helps us be better people.”

The photos are submissions from students in the Selfie Sociology class. The assignment was to take a photo of “something you’re good at”.  You can see Diego dying his mom’s hair (a skill he learned at his College Experience internship!), a stuffed animal knitted by Sarah who regularly knits stuffed animals to donate to kids at her local hospital, and chocolate chip cookies made by Nelly.