I thoroughly enjoyed everything about the World Politics class, even the enormous amounts of reading, which were interesting and impressive enough to make up for the time consumed reading them. In my first semester out of high school, the discussion-based, largely independent format of the class was a big change, and everything I had always wished my classes were more like. The wide range of different views and theories taught in the class was nicely reflected by the variety of interests and political opinions held by the class members.
The class discussions were my favorite part of not just World Politics, but all my current classes at AU -- the setup was simple, but open to a huge range of ideas and directions to go in. Just a prompt and the beginning from the readings and Professor Jackson, and a few periodic nudges in some of the more interesting directions (because in this class there was no right or wrong direction to go in), and the students took care of their education on their own. It became so interesting to participate in the discussions that there were times that I could’ve let a class period last another hour, just so we could clean up loose ends of whatever fascinating idea we had stumbled upon. In fact, discussions were sometimes so fulfilling and interesting that I became suspicious about whether or not PTJ was subtly manipulating us into discussing a topic that he specifically thought would give us insight into World Politics, which totally destroyed my ability to trust that he had no hidden agenda whenever he brought up a subject. Sometimes the connections we made and the insights we gained seemed a little too perfect, which made me paranoid -- was international relations really so complex and intertwined a subject that mere freshman college students could have a semi-intelligent debate over it, or were we all just being fed information in a form slightly more subtle than a lecture? Either way, I learned (by doing, rather than just listening) a lot more about how international relations and global politics works than I would have in a differently-styled class.
World Politics is not just a class for those interested in IR, it helped me to understand my other classes better than I would have without it -- Comparative Politics, Law, Economics, even the essays I had to write for College Writing. If I get the chance to have another class like this one, I will most definitely take it. Anyway, this class was like a breath of fresh air, and if other college classes are similar to it, a brilliant introduction to my college experience. In high school, no matter how interesting the subject matter can be, the way the classes teach always restricts the enjoyment I could get out of the subject. World Politics made me more confident that I could in fact choose to learn and figure things out by myself and with peers, not just from experienced experts, although they do help me to remember what I’m talking about in the first place.
“When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school, it’s a wonder I can think at all.”
~ Paul Simon