Political Science: The Study of Life

by Clifford Long on May 14, 2017

Most people believe that I want to become a politician because I study political science: elected into office, working at the Capitol, shaking hands and kissing babies. While that career path isn’t so unusual for my major, the truth is, that’s never crossed my mind. For me, I want to end up working my way into the State Department with the job title of Foreign Service officer. However, there’s a slew of different career paths people take with an undergrad degree in political science that don’t end up in government. And beyond this, the name doesn’t dictate the content. Political science is the study of theory and the practice of governance. Sure, but what it really does is offer a wide array of topics and skill sets that lend to a better understanding of life and the society we live in as well. This is why it’s so important to be politically engaged, because it’s not just taxes and the President. It’s everything. Political science is way more than the study of politics; it’s the study of our lives.

We get practical life skills of analyzing, problem-solving, and critical thinking. We don’t all want to be politicians or lawyers! Political science majors go on to be involved in all different types of careers: teaching, business, private sector, volunteering. It’s that knowledge of how society works and how people interact that takes us far. In my Understanding Language Learning class this past semester, the author of our textbook described politics as “any relationship between people that involves power, governance, and authority.” This doesn’t limit the understanding of politics to government and its people. It expands the idea to relationships between friends, within families, in the workplace, and many other social spheres.

The Historical and Political Studies Departments (or as we like to call it, HAPS) at Arcadia has a diverse array of professors from different areas of study and backgrounds, which lends to our understanding of the world we live in. Everything here at Arcadia is international, international, international. This, I know you know. To have professors who’ve lived abroad, studied abroad, and are from different countries means we get different perspectives that enrich our education and inform our worldview. At the same time, it’s still important to be as engaged domestically as we are internationally; our domestic-politics courses are top-notch as well. In my classes, I’ve done everything from writing analysis papers to in-depth simulations for campaigns and for international relations. With the experience I have obtained and skills I have acquired studying political science, I can say without a doubt I’d recommend this major for anyone. A single class in PolySci could enhance your outlook on life for the better.