With the combination of researching my own area of policy as well as engaging in class activities, I learned a lot about policy discussion and creation. In the class activities such as the policy negotiation roleplay and the mock policy debates, I got to learn about different perspectives from my peers and hear different points of view. I came into the class with certain expectations about how discussions would go, but I was open to everyone and their opinions and I gained new perspectives on issues that I had thought I understood pretty well.
Before taking this class, I was always hesitant to get into political discussions with people because I was afraid of the discussion turning confrontational and hostile; however after taking this class, I learned the importance of starting these conversations. Opening up the dialogue for these topics is just the start to educating more people on how policy creation and implementation works in the country. Through starting these conversations about policy, it creates the opportunity for people to begin discussing activism and social justice as well. Including diverse opinions and perspectives in the conversation is one of the best ways for those involved to see an issue from different angles and understand it better. This class helped me learn how to have these conversations more respectfully and peacefully, so I am no longer as nervous or hesitant to get into political conversations with people.
Since everyone in the class researched a different topic and was able to choose the topic that they would spend the semester on, everyone was able to focus on something that they had a certain level of passion for. The more passionate someone is for a topic, the more that energy transfers over into their work. This blog assignment was no exception, and it was clear to see how invested everyone was in their research area by the end of the semester.
Overall, I am grateful to this course for pushing me out of my comfort zone and opening me up to dialogue regarding public policy in the United States, because these conversations are going to continue to become more important as time goes on.