Student Spotlight: Freshman plans to write book comparing cultures

By Harry Myers

Freshman Emmanuel Birrueta is double majoring in sociology and psychology to learn about everything involving the human mind.

Birrueta said he hopes to use this knowledge to continue writing a book that compares American culture to other cultures.

Northern Star: Why are you interested in both of these fields?

Emmanuel Birrueta: Ever since junior year in high school, I started writing a book. It has to do with criticism on societal issues, and the perspective I’m taking on it is both psychological and social.

So, I can’t finish my book unless I have both perspectives down. That’s why I think it’s a great idea for me to make them both my majors, since psychology allows you to notice things about people and sociology helps you put it all together.

NS: Can you explain more about your book?

EB: The idea behind it is all the sociological issues we have — not just in the West, but across the world, like China — there’s a disconnect between people. And I find it kinda odd that there’s cultures out there that are less structured and rigid than American culture, per se, but they tend to be more happy, while the average American seems to have more problems and worries.

NS: So, you don’t think that double majoring is too stressing?

EB: It really all depends. I’ve always been good about extra work and stress and I’ve taken honors-level classes for as long as I could. Basically, I think it’s necessary I take these two majors so I can make a good effort on my book.

NS: What are you doing at NIU to extend your learning?

EB: As a freshman right now, there’s not much I can do, but I took an AP test for psych that counted for a year here, so I get to jump into a higher level psych class next semester. The idea is to connect the two, finding what I can as I go. That connects to the information I’d find helpful.

NS: Are there any internships or experiences that you hope to have?

EB: Yeah, actually I took one this summer. For two weeks I went to Nicaragua for a volunteering program. The whole point was to see how other people live, and it’s a poor country, so we went to schools and saw how other people survived in a less fortunate community. It really opened my eyes to how much of a difference there is between our lives as Americans and other people in the world.