2016 has rolled in, and post-holiday grogginess has been replaced by business as usual. As you’ve settled into your daily work and school routines, I’ve been settling into my position at The Wanderer. My name is Anya Zoledziowski, and I am the new editor of the Politics section. Surprise, surprise, I am currently a political science student at the University of Alberta. Although you don’t need to study political science to be informed, my degree has been important in shaping my understanding of politics, and preparing me for my position with The Wanderer.
I grew up in a household with Polish immigrants for parents, both of whom defected from Poland when the communist regime was in power. Because of their background, I was taught to be critical of political spheres and to participate in the democratic process as much as possible. In my first year of university, I realized that pursuing political science would be the most enjoyable and practical way to take my parents’ advice and get involved in the political process.
Political science did more than just deepen my understanding of political regimes and political participation–it provided me with new ways of thinking. In my second year, I had a professor introduce a course by saying, “Don’t ever discuss the ‘African’ experience in an essay; Africa is a diverse continent made up of numerous experiences. Africa is not a country!” In my third year, I had the opportunity to debate with my classmates over whether or not the European Union is democratic. This led to a completely new understanding of what factors form democracies. Finally, in my fourth year, I had the chance to delve into the Canadian and American constitutions. I had always believed that the term freedom implied the ability to express whatever you want until it infringes on the rights of others. In fact, a number of freedoms exist and the concept of “freedom” is adopted by different people in different ways. Today, my understanding of freedom is similar to my initial understanding, because I wholeheartedly believe that one’s freedoms should be limited when actions or words begin to pejoratively affect others. That being said, I am also able to respect that it is not always easy to determine when freedom must be limited because freedoms of speech and expression are fundamental to just democracies.
In Plato’s Republic, Socrates goes around expressing skepticism towards everyone who claims to know anything about anything. The most intelligent people, according to Socrates, are those who believe they know very little. This is why my degree is so important to me. Before political science, I thought I knew a lot. Four years after immersing myself in the world of politics, I realize I know very little, but I have gained an ability and a desire to continuously seek out information and think about it in ways I never thought possible. To be clear, I do not believe that a political science degree is the key to achieving abstract and critical thought, but I do believe it has been the driving force for me. Today, I feel ready to become a part of The Wanderer‘s politics section and begin a new chapter in my education.
I want to continue expanding the ways in which I think about politics and hopefully, this section will enable everyone to do just that! It’s really quite simple. This section will continue to strive to represent multiple sides to every story. It will stay on course to creatively make politics engaging. And hopefully, this section will inspire you, the reader, to become a writer as well.
If you are interested in writing for the Politics section, please email Politics Editor Anya Zoledziowski at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also submit your article ideas through our Submissions Page.
Banner illustration courtesy of Wanderer Online Design Editor Janelle Holod.