yconic - Political Science Students: what's your experience like?
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Political Science Students: what's your experience like?

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Just really wanted some insight into the actual polisci experience as a prospective polisci student. It would be awesome if you guys could answer the following questions based on your experience within your program & anything else you'd like to add/wish you'd known before entering the program.

1. Institute of Study & year
2. Was co-op available? Where have your placements been? What has your experience been like at those placements and how have you been able to grow networking wise from those placements?
3. Other networking opportunities available at your school of study + unique experiences that have been made available to you through your program of study/institution of study (guest speakers, courses abroad, conferences, bilingual program etc.)
4. How have you enhanced your degree (clubs, volunteering etc.) and how has it helped you build skills & experience in the field?
5. Best & worst parts about the program in your opinion 
6. Ways the program has challenged you (critical thinking, essays, assignments etc.)
7. Advice for prospective students 
8. Hardships in the program/institution (profs, courses, lack of student support, financing experience/studies etc.)

Thanks guys! All the best to you 
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1 replies
 
Beware OP, super long post incoming. I was hoping someone who has been in university longer than I have would bite and give you a reply, but alas, nobody has so I'll share. Unfortunately, I am unable to answer your questions to the full extent that you probably wanted them answered (because I'm only in first year).

1. Queen's, Year 1 

2. Queen's does not offer Co-Op specifically for Political Studies students, but students in the arts and science faculty are able to partake in an internship. It is a relatively new program (I think it's at most 2 years old?) so there's not a lot of information on it yet given that there's very little track record. In all honesty, I also doubt it would be a fountain of Political oriented internships. 

3. There are so many conferences and events at Queen's that it's actually overwhelming. The political studies cohort makes up a small population of the students at Queen's but has a decent presence on campus. There are plenty of conferences relating to Politics and everything in between. 

By far the most popular conference is Queen's Model Parliament. Hundreds of students go every year and represent political parties to discuss a host of issues in the House of Commons for 3 days. The actual conference happens about a week from now so I can't speak on it yet, but so far drafting bills with my party, meme waring with other parties, writing speeches and overall bonding with my party has been a wonderful experience. 

Several clubs at school host guest speaker events on current issues and topics. These events usually happen periodically throughout the year and cover a wide range of topics. 

For example, the most recent one I went to addressed environmental issues and climate change. We had two workers from the UN speak about their careers and share their perspectives on Canada and America's role in climate change. It was wonderful. Also, sometimes you get to put on a swanky outfit and socialize. Fun!

4. Like I mentioned about the conferences, there are a ton of clubs at Queen's relating to Politics. There's so many that I won't even bother listing them. 

I've joined a good share of clubs on campus as well as student government and I also volunteer in a local political riding. At most, I have developed skills that I already had going into university; I really enjoy writing, public speaking and event planning and being a part of clubs has forced me to do this more consistently than I did in high school. So, I've been expanding on skills but I think they had origins outside of campus. 

Volunteering for a party in our local riding has been extremely helpful. I've been able to connect with people who hold local political power and see the unravelling of the political process. Personally, I love reading about political theory, elections, the use of speeches/obfuscation and other nerdy political crap, but actually being able to see that theory applied in RealPolitik is really cool. 

5. I can't fully speak on this as I am in first year and only have one semester of a university level Political Science course to my name. But I have nothing negative to say thus far. 

6. There are some interesting and sometimes abstract concepts I've had to take extra time to fully understand, but that was fun anyways. Mostly, the course has challenged me to: (a) become a clearer writer, (b) try to have a non-partisan outlook on political issues and (c) become a better researcher. I believe all of this has generally helped me become a better student.

7. Do the readings. Please, just do them. This goes for every course. 

8. The biggest hardship, and I mean this in all seriousness, is that some of my peers are too intelligent for their own good. These are not the people I want to compete for 'A' grades with; sometimes I doubt I can. I've heard of some departments being underfunded at Queen's, but I've yet to hear of POLS being one of them. Student support is great, but I believe this is a function of the culture at Queen's more than anything else.

Hope that helped. Best of luck. 
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