I attended Mount Mercy University after graduating high school. My freshman year I was in the pre-med program. I was set to be on the path to be a forensic pathologist. After a grueling year of Chemistry 101 my advisor and I sat down to discuss my future.

My mentor, bless her heart, looked me directly in the eye and said, “You barely passed Chemistry 101. You are able to advance to the next level of the pre-med program, but you really should reconsider your future - all of the classes are going to be more intense and chemistry is only going to get harder.”

Initially, I was offended by her blatant honesty. She sugar coated nothing. She said, “You are a bright student. I know you have a future here, at Mount Mercy, but perhaps you should take a semester and reconsider your future.”

I had no rebuttal to her logic. Yes, I entered into college with the dream of graduating and moving on to med school, but I also knew how terribly difficult Chemistry 101 was for me. I was heartbroken, though. And for a day I felt like I was just roaming around campus with no true direction.

I met with my new advisor a week later, since I changed my major to undecided. He suggested I take a few introductory business classes and asked me to closely read all the classes that were available, aside from my required classes, like Introduction to Art.

I browsed through and came to politics. My curiosity ignited. I noticed a class that included the word globalization. I had absolutely no clue what that meant. I read the summary of the class and I thought, “well, I haven’t found anything else nearly as interesting, I may as well give it a shot.”

My professor David Doerge introduced himself and the class and I immediately fell in love with it all. Our first reading assignment was the book, The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization by Thomas L. Friedman. Friedman posits that at the time (the book was written in 1999) the world was undergoing to two struggles: the drive for prosperity and development and the desire to retain identity and traditions. (Wikipedia) Prosperity and development were symbolized as the Lexus and identity and traditions are symbolized by the olive tree.

It seems to me as though that struggle still exists. I digress.

I didn’t even get midway through the first section of the book and I was hooked. I fell in love with politics and social issues. I slowly began to immerse myself in all of it - if there was a class I could take, I signed up. If there was a book to read, I tracked down a copy to read. I spent my free time talking with Professor Doerge. I helped create the Political Science Club. I finally discovered my future - a degree in international politics.

I find the relationships between the United States and other countries fascinating. One doesn’t quite understand what is required of two governments to work together to achieve a common goal; how much there really is behind the scenes. More importantly, not too many people understand or know the history of many countries, therefore they don’t quite understand why some countries relationships with the United States will never truly work or why the present relationship is tattered, almost destroyed.

Perhaps, my passion for international politics fueled my decision to enlist in the United States Navy. I knew I’d eventually be deployed somewhere overseas, and what better way to learn more than to be immersed in a culture?

While I have learned an immense amount from the classes I took to obtain my degree and being deployed overseas, I know that I am not done learning. I know that I’ve barely scratched the surface of the history and the relationships between countries that exists. If you ever need me you can most likely find me reading a news article or a book.

Believe it or not international politics affects us and our daily lives, sometimes more than we could ever imagine.