One 12 months into my political science main at GW, I began to wonder if it was for me. I discovered the coursework attention-grabbing but impractical – heavy on principle, mild on real-world usefulness. Most class discussions ended up getting derailed by the information of the day, with the subject veering from democratic backsliding to the Democratic main. It appeared to freshman-year Andrew like a primary or unoriginal course of examine.
Now, approaching commencement and with the good thing about hindsight, I wish to say some phrases in protection of the key whose utility I as soon as questioned.
College students at GW appear to make use of the political science main much less as an avenue for the mental pursuit of the speculation and social science behind politics, and extra as a automobile for the experiences they’ve exterior of the classroom – and that’s okay. It permits college students who’re fascinated by politics to enrich their research with real-world expertise with out having to spend each waking second juggling coursework in a manner most different majors don’t allow.
Now, that’s to not say everyone who majors in political science is in it simply to test the field of learning one thing, coasting by lessons and inserting their actual concentrate on what they’re doing exterior of their programs. However there are lots who do. My level is to not say that that’s unhealthy, however that it’s truly a very good factor.
Certain, the principle level of faculty is to immerse your self in a selected course of examine. The finger-wagging, focus-on-your-studies trope is one that the majority school college students are conversant in, but in addition one which neglects the truth that there’s a lot extra to varsity than simply what you study at school. In truth, if all you do at GW is shuffle between your room, your lessons and the library, you’re lacking out.
Attending school, and particularly attending GW, unlocks an entire world of recent alternatives which are obtainable uniquely to varsity college students – securing Hillternships, interning for NGOs, working for advocacy teams, volunteering and so many extra experiences distinctive to D.C. A lighter course load lets college students have the flexibleness to replenish the remainder of their schedule with extracurricular actions on campus or with work off-campus – time that college students may in any other case have spent within the library poring over textbooks.
GW clearly is aware of this, too – in fall 2020, the Columbian School of Arts and Sciences diminished the variety of major-specific credit for a bachelor’s diploma in political science from 57 to 33 – practically halving the variety of lessons college students needed to take. Solely requiring 11 nongeneral schooling lessons for a serious is extremely low – for context, a serious in political communication requires 19 lessons, and a serious in economics requires 14 lessons. In truth, it’s virtually unattainable to graduate with a level in political science with out including on one other main or receiving internship credit score – GW requires 120 whole credit to get a level.
The truth that it isn’t even potential to only examine political science by itself validates that this system is just one a part of a well-rounded first step into politics and coverage. Clearly, the College is doing one thing proper, as are the hundreds of scholars who’ve availed themselves of the unstated compact of taking over a much less rigorous courseload in change for garnering real-life expertise of their supposed subject.
There was an extent to which I anticipated school to be a staid, bookish endeavor – not bifurcating my time between cracking the books and hopping on the Metro to go to a political rally with a pupil advocacy group. All of for this reason I used to be considerably bowled over by the political science curriculum and political science college students once I first bought to GW. As soon as I spotted that that was the entire level, the true worth of the political science main grew to become clear to me – and I’ll graduate with extra data beneath my belt consequently.
Andrew Sugrue, a senior majoring in political communication and political science, is the opinions editor.