Why I Study International Politics
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Politics and Activism

Why I Study International Politics

From a political science undergraduate.

Why I Study International Politics
University of Northampton

There are many interesting aspects of being a political science student, and this year's election is certainly one of them. To me, it is probably the most important presidential election we've had in several decades. Anyone who asks me about it knows that I do not particularly support either candidate, but that I have said that I would prefer one over the other. I also tell them that I think that this election will have the highest voter turnout we have ever seen.

But today, I do not want to discuss this election.

Today, I want to answer a question I've been getting a lot since the summer has started:

What do you want to do with your political science degree?

Many people expect me to go to law school or even become a politician.

However, I tell them this:

I want to go to graduate school and pursue my PhD. I want my focus to be international politics/ relations. I tell them that my interest lies more on the international side of things than on the domestic side of things. Most of my political science classes have dealt with international politics.

The next question I get is probably one that you have expected, dear reader:

Why international politics?

Simply put, I cannot, for the life of me, get myself interested enough in domestic politics without wanting to rip my hair out or bash my head into a wall.

Sounds pretty dramatic, right?

However, this is my instinct. I cannot talk about this presidential election for long without getting pissed at both of the major parties. When asked about third party candidates, I say that third party candidates probably have a very minute chance of success in our country. I have become so disillusioned with the American political system that studying it further than my undergraduate studies require will cause me to resent my passion.

And this is why I have turned to international politics.

Sure, every country has a problem. However, when I am studying about another country, I can maintain some semblance of objectivity because what is going on over there does not necessarily affect me.

It sounds selfish, yes, I know.

However, I need this self-composure in order to fully assess a situation. I want to know why the U.S. depends on Egypt's stability in that region right now. I want to know if Turkey will ever be as democratic as it would like. I want to speculate on certain paths countries should take in order to achieve democracy. I want to study the history of U.S. relations with all of its allies and all of its enemies.

And I cannot let my emotions cloud my judgment when it comes to these issues. These nuanced issues require the utmost attention to detail and a cleared conscience. You wouldn't want the next Secretary of State not deal with any of our allies simply because they don't like them, right?

I understand that domestic politics are very important, and I do care about them. However, as a scholar, I have realized that my true potential and skill lies in my ability to understand and learn more about international relations.

I do want to make a difference somehow in this world. It might not be in the American political system as many would expect, but I'd like to believe that maybe, by having me studying international politics rather than becoming a politician, we're leaving room for people who truly have the passion to make a difference in domestic affairs.

And at the end of the day, isn't that a good thing?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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