A year ago this week, I took my last college final. With graduation close enough to taste, I remained completely freaked out about what to do after packing up my cap and gown.
After an internship the previous summer in big tech, and Trump’s election in November, two criteria began to frame my job search. First, the work had to be political, and second, I wanted to help change the world (don’t we all). Armed with an English degree and the dorm room posters to which I couldn’t say goodbye, I headed to Washington D.C., where eyes were set on defeating Republicans in races across the country.
I found myself working in Democratic digital politics, where laptop wielding millennials are attempting every day to save our democracy, and I couldn’t be happier. While I haven’t had to write any 12-page essays on Milton or analyze 18th century British literature since starting work, a transition from liberal arts degree to digital politics makes sense. Here’s why in four reasons:
- Like at school, it helps to be a sphere – While a liberal arts degree affords its recipient a substantial amount of one subject expertise (your major) – the interdisciplinary framework of a liberal arts education also exposes one to a lot of different things. The ability to synthesize and explain a diverse spectrum of topics becomes crucial in digital politics, especially at the entry-level. This industry changes every day, which keeps us on our toes and facilitates constant learning and growth. The agility required to dive into new projects daily for numerous clients with varying digital objectives mirrors the balancing act of taking four classes simultaneously across different disciplines.
- Independence and re-evaluation are encouraged – Since this is a relatively new industry, the status quos are constantly being redefined. While we support the brilliant digital campaign strategists running highly intellectual, targeted campaigns, entry-level digital professionals can help streamline workflow if we’re able to deeply understand processes and then ideate to increase efficiency. Being creative and figuring out solutions to new problems feels a lot like creating new meaning in an analytical essay for class.
- Group projects to group work are a seamless transition – This one doesn’t need much explanation. From day one of working in the digital politics/campaign world, you are a member of a number of teams — the large company team that comprises everyone in the office to the smaller teams you’ll join for each account in your portfolio. All the skills you honed through group presentations, peer reviews, and small seminars translate flawlessly into the team-oriented client work that happens in digital politics.
- Believing in what you do always pays off – In the same way that you do the best in those classes in which you are most interested, working for causes you believe in makes it feel, well, not as much like work. The current passion that exists in the world of Democratic politics around fighting for immediate and meaningful change is palpable. Joining an environment that’s passionate about a concrete goal, in an industry that rewards creativity and thoughtfulness, can be a smooth exit out of the classroom.