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Political Science: My First Experience of a College Course

November 6, 2012
Located on the first floor of Paccar Hall, my lecture class holds 200+ students.

Located on the first floor of Paccar Hall, my lecture class holds 200+ students.

As an intended Political Science major, I chose to take Poli Sci 202 (Introduction to American Politics) my fall quarter. Three days a week, I attend a lecture course with 200+ students ranging from first to fourth year students. The other two days a week, I attend an early morning quiz/discussion class taught by a TA.

My lecture is led by Mark A. Smith. Mark is a wonderful lecturer; a mic attached to his button-up shirt and a large power-point behind him—he is good to go. There are rows of students typing away furiously on their laptops, or writing away if they enjoy the old school pen and paper note-taking method (myself included).  The occasional Facebook creeping or twitter update happens in the mist of his talking, but students know that paying attention in his lectures are paramount in learning the curriculum. The discussion is more intimate, and for me, is a far better learning environment. Because the discussion class is only 20+ students, not only are other people getting to know each other better, but the attention from the TA is much better dispersed for us students. The class is focused around questions arising from the assigned reading material.

The class is an introductory course, meaning it provides general knowledge of American politics rather than in-depth analysis. Once I am able to enter higher level courses, I will be able to develop a more detailed knowledge of politics. In the weeks so far, I have been able to learn the history of our two party system, the relationship of the media and politics, two theories of legislative representation, voter participation in modern politics, and much more. My first paper was a 5-6 page persuasive essay on the two theories of legislative representation. I had to choose what theory I believe was best for modern society and use both historical and modern issues to make my argument. I learned an important lesson from my first college essay: it’s incredibly stupid to procrastinate. I know there isn’t a huge motivation to start the week before, but the future caffeinated you that is panicking over a paper due in 8 hours will say thank you.

Things you shouldn’t be doing during a lecture (but college students often do)

        • Facebook! “I love the picture that you posted of your pumpkin carving adventures, Grandma.” 
        • Twitter! Tweet, tweet, tweet.
        • Tumblr! One of the most addictive sites on the internet. Ever.
        • Instagram! “Let’s instagram a picture of my lecture course, and filter it. I’m so cool.”
        • Texting! “HMU. I M bored in class.”
        • Sleep! Staying up late, and then a 930am lecture course: no bueno.   

Overall, I’m incredibly happy with my choice of taking Poli Sci 202, this is one among three introductory courses I need to take before I declare my Political Science major. It’s the first step of many that I will take to earning an official undergraduate major—it’s anxiety and empowerment all at once.

Proud to be a Husky,

Elizabeth Pring

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