Q. What school did you attend?
A. I attended the University of Central Florida from 2007 to 2011. During that time, I obtained my Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science with an emphasis on Comparative Government and International Organizations.
Q. Why did you choose to major in Political Science?
A. It’s hard to pinpoint when exactly it was that I became interested in politics. My parents never spoke very much about politics while I was young, and I only had the vaguest of notions about how a government was supposed to function. I suppose I really started to pay attention during the fiasco over the 2000 Presidential Election. My motivation was equal parts intrigue and indignation.
For whatever reason though, it never occurred to me to pursue Political Science as a major (due in large part to the fact that I had no idea such a program existed). I was in the process of getting the last few credit hours for my Associate’s degree in General Education, and I still had no clue what I was going to pursue as a major.
The turning point came while I was simultaneously chatting online with friends and watching the returns come in for the 2006 midterm elections. I brought up the fact that I was trying to determine what my UCF major should be while hashing into the various congressional races across the county. Someone then asked “does your school have a poli-sci department?” I jumped for it right then and there. It also helped that the major had very little in the way of prerequisite math courses (because let’s face it, I was never going to be an engineer or a surgeon).
Q. What were some of your favorite classes?
A. I quite enjoyed my Political Theory courses (this included subjects like Modern Political Ideologies, Religion & Politics, ect). I also enjoyed many of my Comparative Government courses; it was revealing to learn how vastly different other political systems across the globe can be.
Q. How would you rate the instruction you received there?
A. It varied from instructor to instructor. I will say that the most engaging courses were ones in which the instructors really cared about the topics they were working with. One of my professors spent his summer break listening to the Nixon tape recordings just for fun. Not every instructor was this obsessed with Political Science, but you tend to pay more attention to individuals who legitimately love the field of work they’re in.
Q. How did you finance your education?
A. Believe it or not, most of money that enabled me to attend UCF came out of my own pocket (worked a restaurant job for quite a long time). I finally became eligible for financial assistance during the last year and a half of my program, but I still paid a decent amount for things like books and commuting. It certainly wasn’t the easiest or most pleasant way to go about doing things, but as things stand, I’m really grateful that I was able to put myself through school with zero debt at the end of it.
Q. Would you have handled anything differently?
A. A few things come to mind. First of all, I would’ve taken advantage of the number of online courses available; it would’ve eliminated a lot of the initial hassle of commuting to Orlando and back (even though classes are over the web, you’re still expected to keep up with everything that’s thrown at you, so it’s hardly the cakewalk that some seem to think it is). Second, I would’ve planned ahead a little bit better and been a bit more leery of the courses I was signing up for. Third, I would have been less afraid to ask questions or to ask for help, be it from instructors or fellow students (I’ve never been the most sociable guy on the planet and this was especially tough when I was younger).
Q. What do you eventually hope to do now that you have your degree?
A. I’m still holding out some hope that I can apply my knowledge of Political Science for something practical. I’m rather good at explaining many complex issues in an easily-digestible way, so perhaps being an instructor myself could be an avenue worth exploring. I’ve also toyed with the idea of starting a website of my own and letting some of my writing prowess shine in that venue.