Political Science Student Profile
Name: Sarah Leitzke
Anticipated Graduation Year: 2014
Major: Political Science and Communication Studies
How and why did you choose your major?
I took the OUE 2100 class offered through The Center for Academic Planning & Exploration. That led me to choose Political Science as a major; I based this decision off of my interest of how people organize society. I decided to major in Communication Studies after looking at the available classes and taking Public Speaking. I knew I loved writing and discussing and presenting, so I decided I'd declare another major!
Please give a description (in your words) of your major including the things you learn, favorite classes, and any challenges you have faced.
Political Science students study government and how it works and interacts with the public. Students may study different governments and how they interact with each other, or how a specific government interacts with its own people. In class, students critically assess ideologies. My favorite class so far has been Democracy & Citizenship; it was a class based upon democratic theory. I love learning and writing about theories. In this major, expect a lot of writing. I love writing, but it may not be the best major for people who like hard facts and data and clear answers.Communication Studies is NOT learning how to talk to people. There are essentially three tracks: mass media, interpersonal communication, and rhetoric. I have taken a class on electronic media, but I have found that I prefer interpersonal and rhetoric. Interpersonal communication is the study of how we interact with one another; rhetoric is the study of arguments. My favorite classes have been How Pictures Persuade (which is about visual rhetoric) and Small Group Communication. The classes are super fun, but mostly take a lot of writing. Especially rhetoric. I love writing, but it may not be the best major for people who like hard facts and data and clear answers.
What types of experiences outside of the classroom have you had relating to your major? (i.e. clubs, jobs, internships, volunteering, study abroad etc.)
I work in the Center for Academic Planning & Exploration where I use a lot of the communications skills that I have learned. I also find myself using communication theory and political theory in my day-to-day exchanges with people all the time. I have learned a lot about how people interact and how they think about society which helps put my interactions into a broader context.
In your opinion, what is one thing, or one piece of advice that other students pursuing your major should know?
Expect to write a lot, read a lot, and be challenged a lot. Both of these majors are highly theoretical, and the theories take some time to get a grip of. You need to want to write and you need to be able to understand theory fairly proficiently (although this definitely comes with practice!)