Interview with Caitlin K., Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, University of Arizona, 2012

Caitlin K., political science degree from the University of Arizona, 2012

Caitlin K., political science degree from the University of Arizona, 2012

Q. What school did you attend?

A. I attended The University of Arizona from August 2009 to May 2012. I received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. I graduated from school one year early.

Q. Why did you choose to major in Political Science?

A. I started off at the university as a business major. However, I found the courses to be very basic and very boring. I took a Political Science class to fulfill a general education requirement and I loved it! I had always been interested in politics, but I was not sure if I wanted to study it full time. After taking that first class, I was hooked.

Q. What was your favorite experience in school?

A. My favorite experience that I had in school was the opportunity I had to study abroad in China. The program was called a “direct study” meaning I was being taught by University of Arizona professors and was receiving University of Arizona credit. The benefit of this program was that there were no issues transferring credits. I took classes in the political theory of China and international relations of China and East Asia. I was also able to take classes to learn Chinese while there. My Chinese class was taught by a Chinese student from the University. Not only did she help me develop my Chinese skills, she also was great to talk to about the things I was learning in my other classes. It was always interesting to get her opinion on the “taboo” subjects like Taiwan and Tibet. I learned so much in China and it was an experience I will never forget.

Q. What kind of jobs have you had since graduating?

A. During my last year at school I applied to law school. However, I decided to take a few years off to make sure it was the right decision for me. Now, I have found a job working for a great non-profit group in California. The job required early childhood education courses, which I thought I would not have. Luckily, the classes I took for my Political Science degree as well as general education courses helped me fulfill the requirement.

Q. Were there any Political Science clubs on campus?

A. Yes, there were your standard Political Science clubs like College Democrats, Young Republicans, and Model United Nations. I did not take part in them. I was involved with a group called the Arizona Blue Chip Program. Although it is not your standard Political Science club, it was a great supplement to my classes. The program helps enhance leadership skills and has a special focus on social justice issues. Politics and social justice are so closely intertwined. I loved the learning experiences I had with Arizona Blue Chip, and it has helped me look at politics through a new lens.

Q. What were your favorite classes?

A. I always enjoyed my Political Theory classes. So much of how we think and act today is based off these texts from hundreds of years ago. While the texts can be convoluted and boring, I always enjoyed the discussions of the readings we would have in class.

Q. Did you think your professors were knowledgeable?

A. I always thought my professors were great. Their course material was almost always useful and relevant. They also always had regular office hours and encouraged students to visit. Classes were pretty big so going to office hours is important if you want to build a relationship with the professor. There were also a large range of classes offered. We had everything from classes on Russian politics to feminist theory. The specialized classes like the feminist theory classes were always the best because the professors were the most passionate about the topics being discussed.

Q. Did you use any job placement services?

A. I did use the career services on campus, but not to find a job. I went to some of the workshops offered by career services. I also went to a mock interview, which I found extremely helpful. The Political Science department is always sending out e-mails with information on jobs and internships. I found a great internship because of those e-mails! I received an internship with a Political Action Committee (PAC) while I was in school. The PAC was specifically trying to elect pro-choice, Democratic women to state and local government positions. I loved meeting all the wonderful people who worked in the organization and I learned a lot about what I am passionate about because of the internship.

Q. Looking back, would you change anything about your education?

A. I do not think I would change anything about my time in school. I really was able to do everything I wanted to do. Looking back, I am actually surprised about how much I was able to do during my time in school and still graduate a year early! The only mistake I made was starting out as a business major because I thought it was practical, not because I was interested in the subject matter.

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