Reminiscing on my childhood, I would say I was a very fortunate child. Growing up, I attended private primary schools because my parents wanted to make sure that I always strived for an exceptional education. I had both the social capital and the economic capital necessary to succeed in our society. With that being said, my father made it a priority to send me to Holy Name and St. Agnes Catholic School in Mission, Kansas where wearing uniforms was the social norm. I never understood why I had to wear uniforms, but now that I look at uniforms from a sociological standpoint, I see that the uniforms were used to try to minimize the differences in race, economic status, religion, cultural background and promote equality in grade-school and middle school kids. In addition, as a result of my ascribed status, I was also able to compete in Miss Kansas pageant in 2001 and I won the title Ms. Kansas Princess, my first time, entering a pageant; it was remarkable. The judges told me that they were impressed with my poise and the goals I already possessed at the young age of seven; I was well socialized in the habitus of the upper class society. This is an example of emphasized femininity because from experience, pageants only focus on physical beauty. I was only seven at the time, but pageants taught me at very young age that dressing up, wearing tons of makeup, and glitter and looking like the ideal Barbie doll made you beautiful to society. The older girls in the pre-teen and teen divisions, were stick skinny with big boobs, fake tans, fake nails, fake eyelashes, hair extensions. In retrospect, I think this teaches young girl that being smart does not matter; the only thing that society cares about is your physical appearance. This is another example of the self-fulfilling prophecy because girls will only strive to meet the expectations society has in place; and the expectations are not very high.
Tennis was my favorite sport growing up; my father placed my very first Wilson tennis racquet in my hands at the age of five. He always told me that tennis was my God-given talent, and I was an outstanding tennis player especially for my age. My primary agent of socialization, my family, socialized me by allowing me to attend Woodside Tennis Academy. I was socialized through organized sports and racquet clubs.
Suddenly my life changed! My father was an entrepreneur who owned two successful businesses: Harvey Environmental and Johnny on the Job. He made a substantial amount of money, until he lost his businesses as a result of the falling economy in 2007. I was 14 at the time, but I can still remember what a grim year it was for me. Growing up having everything and it being forcefully stripped away was an extremely devastating thing for my family to endure. We lost our economic capital, and consequently, I also lost my social capital. I did not understand why our lifestyle had to change and why I could know longer have the privileges I once had. I was forced to get a job working at Baskin Robbins ice cream shop at the age 15 in order to put food on the table, and help my family make ends meet. My father was our primary source of income, and once he lost his businesses we were left with nothing. I could no longer attend a private school because of our financial situation. The hardest thing for me to do was to leave all of my friends behind and attend a public school district with kids I did not even know. I had to be resocialized into a new habitus; I know longer possessed social capital, because the norms and behavior of this social class was very different and I no longer “fit in”.
Working for the first time was distressing. It was hard to balance being a high school student and the obligation of working to help my family financially. Sometimes, I felt like it took away from my childhood because all of my friends didn’t have to worry about the pressures of adult finances like I did. When I