Q: What university did you attend and what degree did you receive?
A: I attended the California State University East Bay in Hayward, California. I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a 3.89 GPA and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in 2002. I am also a member of the Golden Key National Honor Society.
Q: Why did you choose to major in Political Science?
A: I’ve always been a strong writer, but at first, I really wasn’t sure how that would help me in any area other than English. I originally wanted to become a lawyer, but I soon realized that a career in law just wasn’t for me. By that time, though, I was already pretty far into the program and I didn’t want to give it up. The subject really fascinated me, so it wasn’t much of a struggle to continue.
Q: What was your subfield?
A: I chose to focus on International Relations because I have a strong interest in other cultures and the way they deal with things. I was very interested in the United Nations and the way different governments went about resolving issues. Conflict resolution is a very important component of this subfield and I can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed learning this concept.
Q: What were some of your favorite classes?
A: I took a World Problems class and we attended a very large mock United Nations convention in San Francisco. We were each assigned a country and we had to go with real problems and submit resolutions. It was a weekend long event and I still remember the feeling of standing in front of the entire group with my resolutions. It was quite fascinating and I highly recommend it if you are ever given the opportunity.
I also really liked the International Law courses. I took a few less than exciting courses, but honestly, most were very interesting.
Q: What are some of the skills you learn while getting a Political Science degree?
A: I would say that this degree taught me how to form concise, well-formed arguments. Along with enhanced writing skills, I learned how to keep my arguments focused. This skill has helped me throughout my career. I am now a Web Content Manager and freelance writer and my classroom experience has helped me in interviews, meetings and daily office life. As a manager, I am required to be diplomatic and straight to the point, which are both skills I began to master in college.
Q: How are you using your degree now?
A: I’m not using it directly, meaning that I’m not a lawyer, professor or politician. As a Web Manager, I am using the skills I gained throughout the program. A Political Science degree requires a lot of writing and analyzing. I use those skills on a daily basis. I also majored in English, which gives me a completely different set of writing skills. Together, they make a great pair and have helped me immensely in my career.
Q: What job opportunities do Political Science majors have?
A: The obvious answers are teaching, law and something in the political arena. These are all great options if they fit your passion. However, there are a great many job opportunities for a Political Science major that isn’t quite as obvious. You could easily use the skills you learn to become a Market Research Analyst, Consumer Advocate, Journalist or Public Affairs Specialist. The list is really too long to go through right now, but with a little research, you’re sure to find the perfect career for you.
Q: How was the faculty support at your school?
A: Absolutely amazing! Most professors make themselves available to students before and after class and are more than willing to help. I was blessed with quite a few gems. Someday I would love to go back and thank them. Of course, every school is different, so it’s important to visit the school and professors first before deciding where you will go, but that goes for any major.
Q: Did you receive financial aid?
A: Unfortunately, I was not financially stable enough at the time to afford college on my own. I was very fortunate to receive the PELL Grant and Cal Grant, which paid for my classes and books.
Q: Are there any scholarships just for Political Science majors? If so, did you receive any?
A: You would be amazed at the amount of unclaimed scholarships out there. Many are major based and yes, there are a lot for Political Science majors. I assume that it varies by school, but mine did have quite a few. We also had quite a few students vying for them, so I was not fortunate enough to get any of those. However, with the grants, I was able to finish school without going into debt.
Q: What advice do you have for current Political Science students?
A: Not everyone gets the opportunity to attend college. Use the opportunity to find your passion and enjoy every minute of it because it goes by faster than you want it to. If Political Science is your chosen major, then research the different career possibilities. There really are a wide range of opportunities for someone with this degree. You’ll also need to choose a focus or subfield. Don’t do this right away. Instead, take a few classes in the various disciplines and then make your choice.
Q: Anything you would like to leave us with?
A: All in all, my experience in the Political Science degree program was positive beyond my wildest dreams! The subject was very interesting and I learned so many valuable skills. Regardless of your major or subfield, enjoy the experience that college brings. Make sure you go out and have some fun as well. College is about education first, but along with it are experiences and friendships that are unlike any you will ever have again. Get involved in some clubs on campus and surround yourself with positive people who understand your goals. I wish you all the luck in your endeavors!