On March 25, Messiah held its first “Minors Matter” fair, which encouraged students to supplement their major with a minor in another discipline. In celebration, two of our politics minors shared how they came to the politics department, and how a politics minor has enriched both their academic and personal lives. Enjoy!
Rachel Bauman ’15: English Major
I am a senior English major with a writing concentration. I had always been more interested in politics and political history than the average person my age, but I had never even remotely considered studying it in college. As I was registering for classes for the spring semester of my sophomore year, I realized that one of the classes I was planning to take was already full and I needed three more credits. I figured I might as well choose a class that sounded interesting since it would be a free elective. After frantically scouring the course offerings in numerous disciplines, I decided on American Government with Dr. Rego. I knew nothing about the politics department, but since it was a lower-level politics class, I thought it would be fairly low-stress, so it would be no big deal if I didn’t like it. Au contraire, I am pleased to say. The class turned out to be more challenging than I expected, but I enjoyed the material and the lectures so much that I was glad to get the opportunity to delve into the subject through readings and class discussion.
I soon realized that I was way too excited about The Federalist Papers (family and friends can attest to this trying time) not to invest at least part of my college career in politics. And I’m so glad I did! Studying politics has enriched my life in so many ways. It has complemented my English major by enhancing my critical thinking skills and my ability to analyze texts. And because the department combines the best of the humanities and social sciences, I have been exposed to writing in and for different disciplines. The department’s small size has enabled me to meet an entirely different set of people from those in my major, and the wonderful professors have taken me in as a member of the politics family. (I’m even the department work study!) My experiences in the politics department have opened my eyes to different career opportunities that I had never previously considered and have changed the way I think about my future. My only regret was that, due to timing and circumstances beyond my control, I was not able to do a double major. But when people ask me what I’m studying at school, I’ve taken to responding “English and politics” anyway!
Jonathan Barry Wolf ’16: Ethnic & Area Studies and English Double Major
As a first year student, I was looking for that perfect major-minor combination that would expand my mind, prepare me for grad school, and look great on a resumé. In order to explore these academic options, I enrolled in a variety of different classes that piqued my interest. One of these classes was American Government. In American Government, I learned about the foundations and operations of our government. I found the subject of politics to be fascinating, and so I continued to enroll in Politics courses. By the second semester of my sophomore year, I declared a double major in English and Ethnic and Area Studies with a minor in Politics.
The way I see it, my Politics minor is the perfect foundation for both my majors. Classes like American Political Thought and Ethnic and Racial Politics in America have informed the way I approach English and Ethnic Studies and have strengthened my understanding of American sociopolitical history. By analyzing the arguments of federalists, antifederalists, pro-slavery writers, abolitionists, as well as the majority and minority opinions of Supreme Court justices in classes like Civil Liberties and Civil Rights, I learned how to shape good arguments and articulate my thoughts clearly and concisely.
Minoring in Politics has also helped me to become a more informed citizen. I have a better understanding of current events, and I am also more aware of how I can affect positive change when I disagree with a situation. My original goal was to find a major-minor combo that would challenge my thinking, prepare me for further education, and intrigue a future employer. I believe I have achieved all this and more as a Politics minor.