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Why Your Political Science Degree is a Waste of Time and Money

Updated on November 24, 2014

Odds are that you'll never be the President.

If you are fortunate enough to have found yourself enrolled into a college or university you are faced with a pretty life defining decision. What is your major going to be. Most students follow a pretty similar formula to this decision.

Step 1) Find something you are passionate about.

Step 2) Evaluate how much you know or feel you can learn from this subject.

Step 3) Evaluate what type of careers this major leads to.

Step 4.) Research how much income your career field averages and determine if that is a comfortable income level for you.

That is quite a heavy quandary for your average 18-21 year old. Who knows how goals and needs may change in 30, 20, 10 or even 5 years after college. If you find yourself pursuing a degree in political science and have wide eyed aspirations of being elected to office someday, then there are some things you should be aware of and get comfortable with now before plotting your path to the White House.

1.) Your first job out of college will likely be unpaid.

The best way to get your foot in the door is to volunteer on a local or even statewide campaign. If you are a recent grad this is the best way to earn experience, but if you happen to graduate in a non election year, I hope you still have connections at your local fast food chains, because any career oriented jobs in the job market will likely require a business degree or something specialized, like IT or engineering. Saying you hold a political science degree to potential employers is like saying "I'm really smart and informed, but I have no relevant skills or experience. Please hire me anyway." Let me know how that goes over.

2.) You're first paid job will having nothing to do with politics.

If you are looking to get paid out of college your best bet will likely be in some form of commissioned sales jobs. These typically don't require a degree but having one in any major helps you stand out and get an interview. I hope you aren't expecting any kind of placement advantage or management position because of your degree however, you will still be working the entry level job the high school grad got. The good news is you went to college and got a fancy degree, take comfort in knowing that even though you make similar salaries you are marginally smarter than your colleagues, great work, I bet you wish you had that 30k back now.

3.) No matter how many classes you take, everyone will always think they are right and you are wrong. Period. Exclamation point.

People are entitled to their opinion, this is America,('Merica) and it's awesome that anyone and everyone can have their say in our society. The problem is that most people come to their political beliefs from two major sources; personal experience, and misinformation. The biggest problem you will run into is people stating "facts" that aren't factual at all. I.E. Obama is a terrorism supporter and will take your guns away (uhh...6 years in, wtf, thought this guy was supposedly creating relocation camps.) Or Republicans only care about the 1% (uhh...lots of Republicans in office, I'm still free to breathe without paying for the air.) And when people have their opinions based on these "facts" you will attempt to correct them. Which makes having a meaningful conversation nearly impossible. Correcting people will come across as pretentious and nobody will be very interested in what you have have to say regarding the topic. At a certain point you won't even want to discuss politics anymore.

4.) At least studying is fairly easy.

Political Science is literally the only subject where you can watch CNN and consider it studying. If you pay attention to the interviews you will know all the key players in both parties, and all the pundits on each side. Which side stands where on each issue, and if you binge watch enough of it, you can actually learn quite a bit about how to debate nearly every single issue. This is not to say you don't have to do real college course level work. You will read a lot, and write a lot, but if you enjoy the subject enough most of what you read will be very interesting to you. I can honestly say having a major you love frees up time for other activities.

If you are willing to put up with not having a job in your field, and being miserable trying to talk with people about what you love, then choose this degree. If you are looking to be a politician, study business and make yourself some money, you're going to need it when you run for office. If you're looking to be a lobbyist, take the extra four years of college and get a J.D. from a decent university with a good reputation. If you are looking to do anything else in public policy then literally any other degree will work.


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