How My Politics Degree Changed The Way I See The World

Friederike Bauer discusses how studying Politics and Social Sciences at University has taught her more than she thought.

I always thought being into politics was something for old white people.

So when choosing my study subject at University, I wasn’t too happy about the political courses I had to take. But when I started term, I made a promise to myself: if I got through the boring political lectures, I could branch out and try to enjoy other subjects I found more interesting. But now, years later, I’ve found myself choosing advanced courses in politics, the thing I once found so uninspiring.

What I realized on the way was that everything I wanted to know and learn about involved politics, in a way. Social injustice, unemployment, xenophobia are all linked to our political climate and experience.

When thinking about politics as a thing only white old men are interested in, I neglected how diverse and complex politics are and how interesting (and even fun) they can be.

Don’t ever be afraid to learn something new, like I was. Although it can be very complex and at first overwhelming, this should not hinder anyone to get educated enough to change something, big or small. My studies helped me to learn something not just for my future job, but for my life. Deepening my understanding of current affairs, the history of women rights and or how the internet can influence our perception of social issues opened my eyes about how politics impact my daily life.

“You are only one person. You are not going to change something” is something I used to hear a lot when I asked people why they weren’t into politics. But I have learned that using my voice and taking part in politics does not have to mean always super active, every day involvement. Coming together with my classmates changed this completely. Seeing what they were working on and how we could contribute to something together made me very motivated to do my bit. Personally, my activism started very small with voting as to who should represent my study program, taking part in demonstrations against study fees for international students and against racism in my hometown. Eventually, this turned into writing essays about racial profiling and doing research on the political inequalities I care deeply about. I started talking about current topics with my friends, I listened to presentations of fellow students and engaged with local groups. I have found that doing something small in your community is less overwhelming than you might think, and at the same time connects you with inspiring people near you. It was through that that I truly realised that everybody has a voice that can, and should be amplified.

Through my degree, I have learned (and I am still learning) that everyone will get in touch with politics at some time in their life and that you should not be afraid of getting informed about this sometimes complex system.

Education means power and it will empower you to realize that every person counts.

Art credit: Brennen French


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