When I started university in the United States, I’d only been living in the country for six months. Not intending to go to college when I first arrived from England, I suddenly decided to apply at a college near my town, but had no idea what to study.
During my years at university, my major changed from Theater to International Studies, English to French and in my junior year, I finally decided on Political Science and that’s what I graduated with.
But, 20-plus years later, looking back on that decision to get a degree in Political Science, was it worth it and what did I do with it? And, if you have a Political Science degree, what can you do with it too?
Typical Careers With a Political Science Degree – Although most people, if asked, would presume the only thing you can do with a degree in Political Science is go into politics or law school, nothing could be further from the truth.
Sure, with a Poli Sci degree, many people go onto law school. Others become Political Consultants, Lobbyists and even Diplomats. These are typical careers but there are many others. But, just having a degree in Political Science opens up other doors you probably wouldn’t even think of, simply because of the skills you learn while studying it.
What Skills Does a Political Science Degree Teach You – Taking a Political Science degree teaches you how to research, how to analyze and how to write. It also teaches you to think for yourself and, to understand difficult concepts.
Most people who have degrees in Political Science have above average math and language skills. All of these skills can be utilized in many different careers.
My First Job With a Political Science Degree – My first real job out of university, armed with my BA degree, was as an assistant for a professional fundraiser who raised money for non-profits and Democratic political candidates. With my background in research and analytical skills, I was hired by him to use them.
During the four years I worked for him, I helped run a capital campaign to raise 10 million dollars to build a new wing of an HIV/AIDS organization. I organized special events to raise money for political candidates running for local and national office, and I worked with AIDS organizations to raise money for everything from patient care to patients rights, needle exchange to AIDS testing and even to help anti-discrimination activists fight for the rights of gays and lesbians to live just like the rest of us.
My 15 Year Career in Non-Profit Fundraising – During my four years working for a professional fundraiser, I became involved in many non-profits in my city. So much so I eventually ended up as a member of the Board of Directors of an AIDS agency, where I helped make daily decisions on agency budgets, human resources, fundraising, public relations and community outreach.
With my experience in fundraising growing, the logical next step was to work for a non-profit myself.
My first full-time non-profit job was as a Special Events Director for a local branch of a national children’s organization. Then followed 15 years of non-profit fundraising, with most of my jobs being Development Director (the number two person in the agency) for either children’s or AIDS charities all over the United States.
A Degree in Political Science Moves Me To Another Country – After 15 years raising money for various large non-profits, I decided I needed a break and, quite frankly, wanted to try living in another country.
Because of my background and college degree, an opportunity came up to teach English and Geography at a private bilingual school in Thailand and I took it.
Twelve years later, I’m still in Thailand, having worked for the school for three years, then moved on to teach Business English to employees of corporations all over Bangkok, and then to the Bangkok office of a ‘Big Four’ international accounting firm teaching English and Business Skills.
The Life of a Full-Time Professional Writer – Using the analytical and writing skills I’ve always had, and that were honed to an even higher level during my Political Science studies, during the last 20 years I’ve spent much of my time writing articles for magazines, newspapers and online venues.
So much so that, last year, I stopped teaching in Thailand and became a full-time writer. Nowadays, I write articles on Thai culture, Thai society and Thai vacation spots as well as cover other areas of south east Asia from my travels. I work for independent clients through an online writers’ agency, and I work for myself.
If I had to do it all over again, a degree in Political Science may not have been what I would have chosen, but having that degree gave me the opportunity for an amazing life.
I’ve held incredible jobs, met phenomenal people and finally even moved to a new country, where I still use that degree and what I learned every day.
For those of you considering a degree in Political Science remember this. Even though you might think it limits you to law school, politics or research it really doesn’t. The sky (or at least Thailand) is not even the limit.