Wednesday, July 06, 2005

College is more than academics

By Melanie Cain

Almost all his life, Jason Stuebe has been deeply interested in politics. So when it came time to choose a college, he looked for a place where he could express his political views and gain experience in the field, as well. When he first heard about UIS, he quickly realized that attending college in the state’s capital could be an incredible experience for him. When discovered that UIS also had an excellent political science program, he knew this would be an opportunity he couldn’t turn down.

Jason explains, “The programs for political studies and public administration are truly among the best in this state, if not the best. Considering that, along with the school’s location, it would be pretty hard to say ‘no.’”

As he started his college career, Jason set out some expectations and goals on what he would like to accomplish while at UIS. His main objective was pretty basic -- to learn more about the world in general and how to approach the different situations he would have to face throughout life.

“I wanted to gain theoretical and practical knowledge that could be easily adapted and put to use in the real world,” says Jason. “I also wanted to gain the ability to look at complex problems without panicking, but rather to go about solving them through whatever means and/or processes necessary.”

He continues, “College isn’t always about academic learning. It’s also about learning life practice, in essence, how to survive in this rapidly changing and ever-developing world.”

For Jason, UIS’ combination of a great political science program, location in the state’s capital, and introduction of the new Capital Scholars program seemed to be a perfect fit. Once on campus, he got involved in a number of activities, including the Student Government Association (which he served as president for a year), Model Illinois Government, and College Democrats, as well as the UIS athletics program.

Jason feels that much of his college success came from the fact that he got involved on campus as much as he could. “UIS, much like anyplace else you may find yourself in life, is what you make of it. It can be as rewarding, fun, sociable, and active as you want it to be…and vice versa.”

Like many who have attended UIS, Jason feels that the best aspect of the university is the people. “It is critical to rely on your people to make the place, and that is exactly what UIS has done and continues to do. You’ll find people you can approach and talk to, and they’ll reciprocate relatively easily. I don’t know that you can find that at a lot of other institutions,” explains Jason.

This spring, Jason earned a bachelor’s degree in political studies and was a member of UIS’ first graduating class of Capital Scholars. He will be returning to Springfield in the fall to begin work on his MPA and will also be taking part in the Graduate Public Service Internship program, interning with the Department of Corrections.

Do you have a great story about your experiences at UIS? If you’d like to share your thoughts, please feel free to email me at mcain02s@uis.edu.

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