Today I started my first paper in my Sociology 101 class. I learned about the social theories of functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interaction. These are different theories that try to explain how society works and answer questions such as why inequalities exist, how social order is achieved, and what the source of social change is. I wrote about problems that I experienced in the past of finding a job with a criminal record. I related this problem to larger social issues like the draconian sentences for drug crimes, mass incarceration, and the negative stigmas surrounding addiction and being an “ex-con.” I realized that as “justice impacted people”, as Mr. Santos likes to say, we have to double down on our efforts to become employable. This would include building the character necessary to have a foundation and somehow finding a way to get a solid education or learn the skillsets necessary to find employment. I see the tremendous work that Michael Santos is doing for all of us and it makes me want to help in any way I can. These journals and book reports will not only help me on an individual level to succeed, but I am proud to be a part of Mr. Santos’ efforts to affect change for justice-impacted people. I feel impassioned to do my best to show by example that we are capable of change and have the potential to become educated and productive members of society. My own goal is to graduate from the bachelor’s program I’m enrolled in and during that journey, I want to solidify and find my specific role in helping to change things for people who are struggling with addiction and/or feeling the effects of the inequality that results from being justice impacted. I want to figure out whether my talents would be more effectively used to help people on an individual level or on a larger scale trying to affect societal change. I am happy to feel the unfamiliar feeling of having a purpose. Moreover, that purpose being to somehow help people who are suffering makes it all that more meaningful, especially because I’m also experiencing it myself.