NMU senior Andie Balenger of Gladstone writes a weekly column on college life for the Daily Press newspaper in Escanaba. In her most recent entry, "Finding comfort in fellowship," she talks about how other political science majors at Northern—particularly those in an international studies and human rights course her junior year—have provided fellowship through the discussion-based nature of the discipline.
The class was exceptionally small for a college course, wrote the Gladstone native, with 10 students showing up regularly. Twice a week they would meet for two hours, with the entire time dedicated to three questions from the professor. The questions were not meant to be answered “yes” or “no.” Instead, the students were asked to provide thoughtful answers using evidence from our textbooks.
"United in our desire to understand international law and its application to human rights violations, each student would provide answers that took minutes to explain. After listening carefully, every hand in the classroom would shoot up. We were all eager to interject our thoughts, whether it be disagreements, counterpoints or additional information.
"Sometimes the conversations would continue outside of class. Many of us would meet during our free time, gathering with our coffee in a commons area as we pondered the content of each lecture. Perhaps we made no progress in terms of reaching a common goal or solving some overarching issue, but we did develop a better understanding of each other and our goals as political science majors. We also helped each other with our capstone papers, which was a bonus to the formed friendships."
According to her LinkedIn profile, Balenger completed an internship as a staff writer with the Daily Press before starting her weekly column this past August. Read her full column on comfort in fellowship here. She also serves as the opinion editor for The North Wind student newspaper.
In addition to her political science major, Balenger is pursuing a double minor in deaf studies and journalism. After her scheduled graduation in May, she plans to continue her education at NMU toward a master's degree in administration of outdoor recreation and nature-based tourism.