Political Science & Me: A Love Story
When people ask me why I chose political science as my major, I still don’t know the right answer. In truth, my decision to be poli-sci can probably be traced back to the 2008 election. I still vividly remember nine-year-old me sitting on the couch and watching the news with my sister. I definitely did not know what was going on, but I'll never forget the feeling of witnessing history.
However, when I arrived at college ten years later, I was unsure of what to do. A multitude of pressures—from my parents, sister, all the people who asked me what I wanted when I grew up—made me ultimately enter the U with an undecided major. Flustered and lost, my freshman self decided to do what everyone had told me to in college: use my resources. I scheduled appointments with CLA Career Services, the Center for Academic Planning and Exploration (CAPE), and a multitude of undergraduate advisors. At each of these appointments, I would give them the same talk: “I don’t really know what to major in, but please tell me what major will appease my family and be a satisfactory answer to anyone who asks.”
This would usually be countered with good ole’: “I literally cannot tell you what to major in, because that is not my job.” I would then be asked what I’m interested in. I would talk about my love in high school for studying government and history, and how I loved the idea of helping people and communities. I would also inevitably mention my own family’s story, of how my parents immigrated from China in their twenties, and how their struggle is another reminder of all that was sacrificed to get me here, and how the idea of letting down my parents paralyzed me.
It was ultimately at one of these (very emotional) appointments that someone told me, “I see how your eyes light up when you talk about political science. I think you know what you should major in.” Cheesy, I know, but that was it for me. I declared in December, and have never looked back.
Then to Now
Since then, I’ve slowly chipped away at my major credits. I joined and eventually was elected to the board of Model United Nations, a club that holds simulations related to international relations. I’m now a legislative intern for the state legislative session. I’ve been able to explore all facets of political science, especially those that meld with my own identity and interests. And, fun fact, my parents have been supportive all along. They understand my dedication to public service and politics, and I’m thankful.
Writing stories for the political science department has only reassured me that I love my major. Interviewing faculty and students is fun, not only because they’re lovely subjects, but because I’m genuinely interested in what they’re doing in the field.
As with everything thus far, I’m thankful. Without the College of Liberal Arts and the resources they provided to a scared freshman, I would not be where I am today. So there it is, my love story with political science. I think nine-year-old me would be proud.