As college students everywhere prepare to finalize your next Fall's semester schedules, consider adding a few courses that will help you to navigate the world of politics past your undergraduate years and give you the confidence to vote for candidates that best represent your ideals and that help you to understand exactly how you fit into our political system.
Although not an obviously political course, understanding the role that markets, stocks, and finance play in affecting public policymaking can greatly influence how our politics shift. The basis of our monetary and fiscal policies heavily rely on global and domestic markets on large scales, and how currency demand, aggregate supply and demand, etc. change and affect ours and foreign economies. Macroeconomics is the perfect foundation for understanding the importance of our government in adjusting to changing global markets.
The United States Government is tricky, and while many citizens believe they're knowledgable about every part of it, many are wrong or have dangerous misconceptions in how they believe it operates. Understanding the basics of how it functions gives you the ability to really judge what politicians are telling you — and whether you're going to believe it or not.
Another hot topic for controversial debates between political parties and even members of the same parties is how our nation is meant to interact and cooperate in relation to foreign countries. International relations is another confusing (and sometimes boring) part of our politics, but understanding it gives a whole new perception into what you believe is right, where we have the duty to involve ourselves in other nations affairs, and when you think we are meant to stay out. Think Vietnam War, the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Iraq War. These are several of the most important and influential moments in our history of international relations, but it's important to understand the policy behind them and how our future will be shaped by other foreign policy decisions.
Stemming from International Relations and understanding decisions of the past, American History is perhaps one of the most essential classes a student can take. Although required in many high school curriculums, American History at the college level is unmatched. The analysis is deeper and a greater understanding of our history is practically required to pass American History in the college classroom. The saying "history repeats" has proven to be all too true, and being knowledgable of the politics of our past will give you a clearer understanding of current politics and where the future leads based on today's choices.
More so than anything else, understanding the rights you are given as a citizen and where they come from will give greater meaning to and a deeper appreciation for them. Knowing your rights and liberties is key to understanding how you can influence our government, express your views, and take action so that your governing body best represents yours and your fellow citizens' views.
To many, the law is confusing and written in terminology beyond their comprehension, but understanding the laws that govern our country gives countless advantages that cannot be taken away. Knowing the law and its applications mean you don't need to rely on others to explain it for you and avoid the dilemma of getting opinion-filled answers when it relates to policymaking and our government. As our law is the final say-so in what is allowed or prohibited, it is important to understand how it can be altered, updated, challenged, and the variations in which it can be interpreted.
While most of these classes are not mandatory for students to take under General Education requirements in their universities or colleges, the real-life applications of the contents of these courses are priceless. More so than ever it seems, young adults and older generations are making their voices heard and encouraging greater political activism all the while the amount of fake news and false information continues to increase alarmingly. The more educated and informed our electorate is, the greater the likelihood of higher voter turnout and with that, improved quality of officials that are elected into public office.