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Sociological Imagination and Problems of University Students in African Countries

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Students face a variety of academic challenges in universities. University is harder than and very different from high school, thus many students find it hard to cope and find balance. Students are required to put in more effort than usual in order to understand and chow the course. The magnitude of academic difficulty is high, so focus and discipline are essential. In this essay I will be discussing the sociological imagination and the problems of university students in African countries.

‘Sociological Imagination’ was invented by C. Wright Mills (1916-1962), an American sociologist. Sociological imagination is the ability to interlink your personal life problems with that of the society. “Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both” (Mills, 1959: 3). Sociological imagination connects the two poles of social understating and examination, which are the individual and society. With sociological imagination people can discern the basic issues that affect their lives. And the individuals can deal with their matters, which might improve both their own situation and that of society. The sociological imagination enables one to look at an issue not with a personal perspective (lacking personally) but social perspective. This helps individuals to realize their personal troubles relate to social issues.

Take this example, you come from a poor background and you go to school on an empty stomach. Your school doesn’t have a feeding scheme and this affect your studies because you can’t concentrate in class, you don’t have the necessary stationery, you’ve been failing tests and you starting to doubt your own future. This creates personal problems for you. Now let’s take you and most of your classmates failed the term because of being poor. You all now share the same issue considered as a social problem. Poverty is a social issue. This problem is no longer seen as your personal issue, you are not blamed for this condition, it is a product of social strife.

Personal problem occurs within the characters of the individual and within the range of his or her immediate relations with others; they have to do with one’s self and within those limited areas of social life of which one is directly and personally aware. A problem is something bad that you have to deal with privately. Being robbed is a personal problem because you lose your belongings and that could raise your stress levels which can affect your health. Social issue has to do with matters that transcend these local environments of the individual and the range of her inner life. They have to do with the organization of many such milieu into the institutions of a historical society as a whole, with the ways which various milieu overlap and interpenetrate to form the largest structure of social and historical life. An issue is a public matter: some value cherished by publics is felt to be threatened. Issues are connected with difficult decisions, and involve crisis in institutional arrangements.

A young adult in my neighborhood went to The University of Johannesburg (DFC) to study Business Management in 2015. While his mom who is paying for his fees thought he was studying he was going wild in night clubs every week, skipping lectures and never submitting assessments. When they asked about the first semester results, he kept on stalling them until they forgot; he failed the first semester and the second one as well. The following year her sisters took it upon themselves to go to the institution and do a follow up because according to them the results never came out. What they got is a very scary record and he had to drop out. He had a n alcohol addiction, a very bad one.

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This was created by the society because before varsity, he wasn’t like this. Peer pressure and bad influence led to change in his behavior. So, this is a personal problem as his life is breaking down, he lost his family’s trust and has to deal with himself as a human being, it’s also a social issue because alcoholism is one of our problems as a country, a rate of university dropouts has increased as well as unemployment.

An examination was done to explore the pervasiveness of substance abuse and misuse of substance use among understudies at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in Durban, South Africa. The examination used a cross-sectional review structure and gathered information from an advantageous example of 515 understudies. The investigation found that alcohol is as the most widely recognized substance utilize. Despite the fact that life time alcohol usage (68%) and use inside the previous three months (57%) was high, 17.5% of the students were found to be extensively engaged in alcohol consumption. Male students were more in danger for unsafe substance use, and altogether extraordinary on cannabis use from female students. White and Colored students were additionally observed to be unsafe alcohol clients. The student’s general Psychological capital (PsyCap) was high, however scores were low in self-adequacy. Male students PsyCap were significantly higher than of female students.

One of every seven grown-ups confess to being gorge drinkers, yet business analysis state the issue is probably going to be much more terrible. In view of affirmations in a study of 20 00 adults, UCT analysts state 4.8 billion mixed beverages were expended in 2014/15. Yet, in the equivalent period, the South African Income Administration gathered extract obligations on four-fold the number of beverages. Furthermore, an assessment in 2017 found that just 14.6% of alcohol utilization was represented in confirmations amid the National Income Dynamics Study.

Students ought to be made mindful of the negative outcomes of substance on their wellbeing and prosperity and intercessions should be coordinated at upgrading strength and commitment in more wellbeing advancing ways of life through supportive environments and skills building opportunities. Campaigns around responsible alcohol consumptions should be run more often and alcohol age should be increased to an age where people are really responsible.

The sociological imagination makes us to see the general in the particular and it helps people and sociologists acknowledge general patterns in the behavior of specific individuals. One can think of the sociological perspective as one’s own personal choice and how society plays a role in shaping individuals’ lives (Macionis, Gerber, 2010). So, we are nothing without the sociological imagination. In order to understand any problem, you must look at it with an objective view so that you can see the external factors causing it.

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Sociological Imagination and Problems of University Students in African Countries. (2022, September 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 9, 2023, from
“Sociological Imagination and Problems of University Students in African Countries.” Edubirdie, 01 Sept. 2022,
Sociological Imagination and Problems of University Students in African Countries. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 9 Dec. 2023].
Sociological Imagination and Problems of University Students in African Countries [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 01 [cited 2023 Dec 9]. Available from:
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