As a political science major, I’ve noticed that there are a lot of assumptions and misconceptions that we’re regularly exposed to. Here are some popular myths about us poli sci enthusiasts that we'd really like you to stop spreading.
1. “So you want to go to law school?”
Repeat after me: political science doesn’t equal legal studies. Legal studies is a completely separate major from political science. Some poli sci majors do want to go to law school, but that doesn’t apply to everyone. At UCF, Political science is a degree with three different tracks; American Government, Comparative Politics, and Pre-law. So unless someone is on the pre-law track, don’t assume that their eyes are set on litigation.
2. "Do you really want to be a politician?"
Political science is the study of government, not politics. Not everyone goes into political science in hopes of making it onto Capitol Hill or the White House. Most political science majors have too much fun judging politicians than to ever consider running for office.
3. "You’re going straight to D.C. after graduation..
…Because where else are you going to find a job?" If you want to work for the government, then D.C. is where to go. However, there are plenty of think tanks, local governments, university fellowships, and careers abroad that poli sci majors can look into.
4. "Trump or Hilary?"
This was definitely a popular inquiry back in 2016. Just like you, most of us disliked each candidate equally. Also, just like you, most of us don’t feel comfortable getting into a long-winded political debate. We’re college students, not your drunk Uncle Larry at Thanksgiving.
5. “What do you want to do with that?”
This is a fair question, and I don’t have a problem with the wording itself, but the tone that is often used can be grating. Political science is a degree more focused on theory, but it can be applied to a lot of different fields and careers. The tone of the question stems from an assumption that political science majors can’t get jobs post graduation. Majoring in political science is no different from majoring in anything else in college; it's not enough to muddle through and make straight C's. As long as a maintain a decent GPA and gain some real world experience, no degree is useless.
A lot of the assumptions and misconceptions stem from a lack of understanding of what political science can achieve. Political scientists don’t just focus on domestic politics, nor are all of us looking to go to law school. Political science is a diverse field of study, and there’s a lot that can be done with it. If you're interested in learning more about these students, you can symbolically adopt a political science major for just sixty cents a day at wedontallwanttobelawyers.com. You can also just talk to one of us, or even join an registered student organization that focuses on political science. It'd be wise to befriend us early on, as we'll be running the world in one way or another someday.