Nixon: The state of politics has further inspired political science students

Matt Easdale is an OSU fourth-year student double majoring in political science and environmental economics and policy. Though political events have caused Easdale stress and even intensified an ideological divide in his own family, Easdale said he wants to continue pursuing his career in politics.

Cara Nixon, Columnist

Editor’s Note: This column does not represent the opinion of The Daily Barometer. This column reflects the personal opinions of the writer.

Even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 election and the capitol insurrection last January, I have continued to find interest in political science.

The political events of the last four years are actually what inspired me to pursue my major of political science. However, I can understand why recent events would dissuade others from politics. 

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For my political science peers, I have wondered if the chaos of the political sphere extinguished or further inspired their passion. 

Matt Easdale, a fourth-year double major in political science and environmental economics and policy, said that though it currently feels like a hopeful time, the more negative political events over the past few years have definitely impacted his studies and how he feels about his career.

“[Politics have] definitely been like an additional stressor on top of everything else,” Easdale said. “…Especially being in quarantine during an election season with all of the craziness going on, it was just like a stack of things that all kind of piled on top of each other.” 

Though political events have caused Easdale stress and even intensified an ideological divide in his own family, Easdale said he wants to continue pursuing his career in politics.

“I’ve been pretty dead set on a career in policy making for quite a while, but definitely the last year at least has been…something that relit my passion a bit more,” Easdale said. 

Katarina Bosworth, a second-year student double majoring in political science and Spanish, agreed that the recent state of politics has only added to her determination to pursue a career in government. 

“The chaos of politics has intensified my interest and dedication to becoming well-informed and effectively politically active,” Bosworth said.

Bosworth said she feels like the actions of the Trump administration negatively impacted the United States. as a whole by disrespecting human rights, alliances, foreign trade, citizens’ trust in the federal government and more.  

The last four years and the current state of politics have impacted the way Bosworth selects her courses. 

“I have found myself dedicated almost with a sense of urgency to developing a greater understanding of America’s political history, processes and phenomenon,” Bosworth explained. “I have found this aspect of my studies at Oregon State to be essential to my education.”

Dylan Perfect, a fourth-year political science student and Associated Students of Oregon State University vice president elect, said he chose his entire course of study because of the way the state of politics impacted him. I had the same experience. 

“I certainly had a vague interest in politics before, but I didn’t really read much into the subject until the lead up to the 2016 presidential race,” Perfect said. “I found it interesting to see how primary candidates agreed or disagreed with my own beliefs, and I decided that this was information I needed to know, although I couldn’t vote yet.”

Perfect has also not been dissuaded from political science, though he acknowledged that the political atmosphere can be overwhelming. 

“I have a lot of respect for the organizers who deal with that sort of stress,” Perfect said. 

Easdale, Bosworth and Perfect were not discouraged from continuing to pursue their studies in political science, despite the arguably chaotic state of politics over the past few years. All of them also agree that it is more important than ever for everyone, not just those involved in politics, to care about the state of our government. 

Though in some ways politics in the U.S. seem to be returning to “normal,” Easdale said, “It’s probably more important than ever for people to pay attention and continue to get involved.” 

Bosworth said she believes that future administrations will have to do a lot of work to successfully address a wide array of pressing issues. As a college student, she said she is reminded consistently by the state of politics and her education that truth and factual information matter. 

Perfect said it’s necessary to “look beyond political promises” to make legitimate change. He added, “You don’t have to be a political science major to be politically engaged.”

As for me, I completely agree. In order for the country to be the best it can be, everyone should take the time to engage with politics, despite how stressful they are. 

Like my peers, rather than being discouraged from the political sphere, I have been inspired by it and the way it impacts my own future career in journalism.