A public policy course I’m taking this semester is called Negotiations, specifically in the realms of politics/policy and business. This is a very fun class, particularly because we the students have weekly negotiation practices under different modules. There are 47 students in the class (not too large), so many of us interact with each other a fair amount.
One week in particular, I was grouped with three other students. There was actually quite a bit of downtime, so we socialized a bit and inquired about each others’ backgrounds. The dynamics of this course is insane: it is available to both undergraduates of all majors and graduate students (MPA/MPP) from the Goldman School of Public Policy (GSPP) and MBA students from the Haas School of Business.
One person is a second year Masters in Public Policy student. He is 28 years old. He attended Oxford University in the UK several years ago and studied history. He wasn’t content with the amount he was making so he applied and got accepted into GSPP. He had previously applied for various government jobs as well and had worked in the US State Department.
The second person in the group is a senior. I forgot what she was majoring in, but she’s an NCAA Collegiate Athlete in track and field. After graduation, she plans on running professionally for a few years before seeing what lies afterward.
The third person in the group is also a senior. He is actually taking Negotiations for fun. He’s studying molecular and cell biology (MCB) and is on a pre-med track. Not only is he studying for MCATs right now, he also works three jobs and is also involved in university research.
And there’s me. Hah.
Something I really enjoy about college settings is that, obviously, it breaks out of the age constraints that previous levels of schooling are accustomed to. Specifically in Berkeley, I’ve met 17 year old sophomores and 30 year old juniors. I’ve met international students from every continent except for Antarctica. We have “nerds” (aka electrical engineering geniuses) that construct circuits that control all the electronics in their dorm. We also have world class athletes that just came back from the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
It’s interesting meeting these said people. Being surrounded by people of all sorts extends ones understanding of the world. School is but one medium to achieve this – the same could be done in the work setting, and in the public setting. The next time you’re stuck on a flight, no matter the length, strike up a conversation with the person seated next to you.
We’re all human, after all.