It’s not fun. Just kidding! Well, kind of…Political Science and PPE are very popular majors at Penn, but few people understand what majoring in these fields actually entails. These majors can be very rewarding, but they can also be very stressful at times. For those of you considering the major, those who can relate, and those who have never encountered a Political Science or PPE major and are curious about what they do, here are some realities of being a Political Science major at Penn:
1. READING, READING, and more READING.
If you don’t like reading don’t become a political science major. The amount of reading for one class varies, but I can guarantee you will likely read at least five to six books in a semester (and yes, you will have to read all of them from front to back cover).
2. A majority of the people in your lectures have “Ready for Hillary” stickers on their laptops.
The “Ready for Hillary” gear also extends to the buttons they have pinned to their backpacks, stickers, pens…they want to make sure you know that they are ready! In case you forgot…
3. Similarly, a majority of the people in your lectures are die-hard liberals.
Penn is a very liberal college campus. Most people majoring in Political Science or PPE, therefore, are also liberals. If you stray from that norm, well, be prepared to disagree with EVERYONE in your recitations.
4. You’re constantly thinking during Political Thought classes, “What does this have to do with politics again?” and “I will never take a political thought class EVER again."
Political thought is borderline philosophy, but it’s philosophy that has to do with politics. Well, it’s supposed to be about politics. The classes start out interesting, but thinking that deeply twice a week gets old fast. Eventually, you get to the point where you’re not even sure if you’re learning about politics anymore.
5. You read one page out of your ridiculously long book and forget everything that you just read.
This happens a lot when you take political thought classes! But to be honest, it happens with almost any kind of book you read for political science. No matter how interesting the book might be, you’ll find yourself re-reading A LOT.
6. There is always that one person who interrupts the professor in the middle of lecture to ask a really stupid question (and trust me, that won’t be the last time they do that).
Many times those people who interrupt the professor during lecture are just looking to brown-nose. They ask questions they think make them look smart, but it really just makes everyone else in the lecture hate them. The professor tries to act pleased that someone asked a question, but it’s obvious they would have rather kept going with their talk.
7. Did I mention there’s a lot of reading?
8. No matter how hard you work on a paper it’s nearly impossible to get above a B+.
TA's just don’t like to give A’s on papers. Unless you go to them constantly (which is sometimes hard when a professor gives you four days to write a paper) to get feedback throughout the writing process, they’re more than likely not going to give you an A the first time around.
9. If you don’t suck up to your TA or professor you’re not going to get an A.
You have to get to know your TA. You have to suck up. If you don’t, the highest grade you will get is a B+. End of story.
10. Even if you’re paying attention and taking diligent notes you need to talk during recitation if, again, you want an A.
Political Science classes grade harshly on participation, so if you’re a person who is not good at talking in front of people, get over it. You need to say something if you want a decent grade.
11. You wonder how people know so much already and have time to read the news on a daily basis.
Were these people raised by politicians? Well, maybe some of them…but you wonder how in the world people have the time to READ MORE on top of what you already have to read. Don’t people ever do anything else besides read?
12. You constantly get the question from non-political science majors “Political science? Do you want to be a politician?”
No. Just because you major in political science does not mean you want to be a politician. Political science can lead people in countless directions. Law school and career politician are not the only options.
13. You’ll do a ton of work, but let’s face it, almost everyone in Wharton will make more money than you one day.
Even though you work yourself to the bone for four years, more than likely you won’t make more than the average Wharton graduate.
14. You will feel like you gained a lot from the major, however.
Political science and PPE are hard majors, but they are also very intellectually rewarding. Even if you don’t ever make a ton of money, you will feel that it was all worth it. I don’t speak from experience since I haven’t graduated yet, but every time I finish a political science class I feel as if I have come out of it with greater knowledge about the world. I love that feeling, and that is why I love this major.