In our current political climate, many things are uncertain. But of course, there’s one certainty in the field of politics that will always remain truer than Duverger’s law, no matter where you go. The fact is that political science majors will always and forever drive their fellow students crazy. While this is true for the major as a whole, however, it would be unfair to clump all the individuals into one category.
Political science majors have many different interests and personalities, so it would be a shame to not acknowledge them all. Just like with career politicians, political science majors are never who they seem and are often a mix of many of these categories we have come up with. After years of observing the political science majors on UC Berkeley’s campus, I would like to present to you the Clog’s list of the types of political science majors.
One of the most stressed-out subgroups, whenever class enrollment comes around, you can hear pre-law students worrying about whether one class will look more impressive to law schools than another. They’re always thinking five steps ahead of everyone else and are difficult to beat in a debate. Whether they just want to make their parents happy or are driven by the fact that law school will open many doors for them, they’re a little nervous about the hard work to come. Besides studying for the LSAT, they’re big fans of Elle Woods and “How to Get Away With Murder.” Because it’s a necessary trait in lawyers, pre-law students are also the kinds of classmates who love to hear themselves talk, even if it comes at the expense of time for the professor to finish lecture. In every question they ask, they imbue the answer within it to show that they know things and take so long to ask it that no one knows what was going on by the time they’ve finished.
- ASUC kids
Not every member of the ASUC is a poli sci major, but if you are a member of it, you may as well be. When they’re not going on lobbying trips to Sacramento and Washington, D.C., they’re probably following you around on Sproul Plaza or posting on Facebook about an issue they care about. Many people see them as too intense and unwilling to listen to other sides of issues. They don’t get a lot of respect from anyone else on campus, but these students are very driven and will probably end up either as members of Congress or working for one, so it’s probably time we get used to them being in charge.
- Free speech movers
The free speech movers’ voices are certainly heard when they try to bring controversial figures to campus in the name of sparking a “debate.” Often, they claim to be bipartisan and open to hearing both sides, when in reality they’re using this as an excuse to deflect from the fact that they aren’t as open-minded as they say they are. This group loves to “mansplain” and its members were probably part of a speech and debate club at some point in their lives. Their favorite saying is, “Well, actually” and you’ll see many of them rocking a Patagonia vest with boat shoes.
The optimists genuinely love studying political science. Think Leslie Knope and then apply her personality to a UC Berkeley student. They probably have a Redbubble sticker of Obama on their Hydro Flask and want to either become a professor or work for the United Nations someday. They try and argue for the most optimistic view of an issue during discussion, and you can’t help but feel a little bad for them when your graduate student instructor plays devil’s advocate with a more pessimistic counterargument. But of course no matter how world-weary and dejected about politics you are, you appreciate their positive outlook on the world and their drive to make the world a better place.
These people aren’t your typical political scientists. Initially, it seems like they couldn’t be bothered with the material; they don’t constantly insert their opinion and probably sit at the back of the room during lecture. You peg them as someone who decided to major in political science because it’s a pretty broad major, but they always end up surprising you when they finally say something in class. They’re incredibly thoughtful and knowledgeable on the subject you’re discussing, and you can tell they really do belong in the major, even though it doesn’t seem like it at first.
Pessimistic, easily annoyed and extremely hypocritical, these political science majors ask themselves every day why they chose this major. They write articles for The Daily Californian, complaining about how annoying their fellow political science majors are without stopping to think about how they’re just as bad. They’ll roll their eyes at the ASUC kids and call themselves “realists,” but will binge-watch “The West Wing” in their free time and have political debates with their friends at parties. To the world, they’re constantly saying that they hate politics, but deep down, they’re secret optimists.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of every type of political science major you’ll ever meet at UC Berkeley. Just like politics, we political science majors are complex beings, constantly struggling with our opinions, keeping up with the news and the heavy stream of readings we have every week. Whether you’re a dedicated public servant or fighting for change, keep on doing what you’re doing and try to survive the rest of election season!