Political Science: A Major for More Than Politicians

"Oh you're studying political science?" "What, do you want to do be a politican?" "You're in political science...now what do you plan to do with that..." Or my personal favorite, "You must get really hype on America...'Murica, am I right?" When I first started to write this article, I tried to pick out a specific example of someone asking me one of these questions, but it honestly happens so much that they kind of all run together. People honestly assume you run around surrounded by American flags and bald eagles shouting articles of the Constitution...

But today we're going to talk about all the things that you can learn studying poli sci that don't actually mean that your end game is being the President (but it can absolutely be that too.)

I guess I should start with my "end game" which is to work in campaigns and eventually get my PhD in Political Communication, the ultimate end game though is to be a professor at a University. Maybe even come back home to Boone. And for the record you're absolutely right I get hype on America. I still stand by idea that this country is the best in the world and I think Washington DC is easily the most magical place ever but that has more to with being a history nerd.  If you've seen Legally Blonde 2: Red White and Blonde and you remember the scene where Elle is walking up the steps of the capitol building in all pink....yea that's me.  

About the 100th time someone asked me what I was doing or why in the world I chose to study this especially right now. But with everything that's going on in the world I'm more grateful than ever to be able to confidently say I understand how government works and the processes that things go through before they become law, or regarding international relations like North Korea or refugees. I decided to sit down with our department chair Dr. Ardoin and ask him a few questions about being a poli sci major (or minor in my case.) 

Dr. Ardoin told me something that I hadn't even considered around 40% of jobs in the US are government jobs. Just think about how many people you alone know that have a state or federal goverment job. I doubt they're all representatives. So when you really think about it politics are in almost every aspect of our lives.  Studying this helps you understand how our political system works as well as how to analyze data, lobby for things and understand policy as well as all of the writing and critical thinking skills that you would learn in any of the other social sciences. You can do and be almost anything you put your mind to with political science. An Appalachian State Alum became the FEMA director and now consults with state and local governments on how to prepare for natural disasters. Another App Alumni was working in the UNC system under Margaret Spellings and is now the executive director of the NC Free Enterprise Foundation. Other people have gone on to work on campaigns, teach, become lawyers, work in law enforcement   Those are just a few of the endless examples of jobs you can have studying political science that are absolutely not being a politician. 

For me choosing political science came out of love for this country and the ways that it functions. Those functions have brought us through some of the greatest obstacles in history. I believe that no matter what happens America will prevail out the other side. 

I asked Dr. Ardoin if he could have one tag line to get people to join the political science department what it would be and without hesitation he said "Help make the world safe for DEMOCRACY!" So help make the world safe for it and learn all about it.  If you want to learn more about it here at App State you can check out the Government and Justice Studies webpage.