Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Class Leads to "Aha Moments" Regarding Major, Career

By Vernicia Griffie

When I first made the decision to become a political science major, I did so because I wanted to see a change in the way the political happenings of the country were being relayed to the public. This has led to an increased sense of curiosity regarding the world around me and the workings of the American political system. This is why Dr. Champagne’s Civil Liberties Class was the perfect choice for me.

From the start of the semester, I’ve had an affinity for the Civil Liberties course. Reading through numerous Supreme Court cases and discovering the rationale behind the laws that I’m expected to abide by on a daily basis proved to be more of a fun thing to do than a daunting task. Although I found this enjoyable, I in no way expected it to be anything more than a class that I didn’t mind attending every other day. Instead, it became a medium that opened my mind up to understanding present day events and further reinforced my belief that political science is the right major for me.

The first “aha moment” the class presented me came with a discussion over what is considered constitutionally protected free speech. In order to help spur critical thinking, Dr. Champagne utilized an event from last year’s demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri. This perfectly put the lesson into context. It amazed me that there was finally a conversation about that significant social event that dealt solely in fact – not emotion – as previous ones that I’d been exposed to had not. 

Fast forward to a month or so later, when news outlets were swarming over the story of an Oklahoma university’s expulsion of a student for his utilization of a derogatory slur while with his fellow fraternity members. I arrived to class without having much of an opinion on the matter, until we begin to discuss whether or not punishing the student for utilizing this type of speech was constitutionally sanctioned. It was then that my mind started to race, and I again began to notice how excited I become in the midst of factual, intellectual, and socially significant conversation.
I left class that day feeling a sense of increased passion for the major and career path I have chosen. 

These so-called “aha moments” have not only helped to reinforce my choice, but they also have shown me that I need to take advantage of the wonderful opportunity I have to be attending a university. With the knowledge I acquire while taking courses like this one on civil liberties, I will be able to one day become the type of journalist that is so desperately needed with these changing times – one that sticks to the facts and feeds the public the information that they need to know, as opposed to that fueled by emotion or personal feelings on the matter. I’m so anxious to take everything I can from the class this semester and use the aforementioned aha moments as a means to propel me to continue on this journey toward my future career.

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