Unprecedented times call for rapid adjustments, and my Social Science Scholars project was no exception. Entering the summer, I had an internship lined up with a lobbyist organization whose chief purpose was to lobby Congress to reallocate defense spending to poverty reduction programs. While I was initially intrigued with this mission, complications due to the COVID-19 pandemic caused me rethink my path this summer. I decided to withdraw from this internship and pursue a more independent venture, starting a blog named The Spectacle. I have always been a writer, and plan to become a journalist in the near future. Over the past few years, I have written for a variety of music related blogs, and always had an interest in the infrastructure and development of blogs. While my blog was initially supposed to be a joint venture with a friend, I ended up purchasing the domain, designing the website, and producing all of the content independently. My initial mission for the blog was to destigmatize leftist thought, and while this mission is not completely out of the picture, my new mission is to create an open forum for leftist thinkers, a surprisingly sparse concept.
While creating the blog by myself was stressful, it was rewarding in the long run. Becoming fully immersed in WordPress helped me develop basic web design skills, and required hours of research in order to get the blog to look exactly how I wanted. The most rewarding part of designing the blog was utilizing adaptive design to create a unique, seamless design for mobile devices. I was having a lot of trouble with this at first so it was a huge relief to finally get it done. With regards to producing content, it was a struggle, but I believe the articles I wrote were personable, well-researched, and brief enough to consume. Of the articles I’ve written thus far, my favorite is called, “The Preference-Action Disparity in Congress.” It describes a variety of policy issues, and how the American people’s opinions on these issues are hardly ever reflected in Congressional action. Additionally, it describes how Senate procedure and laissez-faire campaign funding contributes to and reinforces this concept.
The Social Science Scholars program changed my life by making me rethink leadership and introducing me to a group of extremely talented, motivated, and impressive peers. Approaching leadership as a legitimate field of study was new to me, but allowed me to identify the general qualities that make leaders effective. Additionally, the Social Science Scholars program stimulated my desire to become more involved on campus, and to embrace the unique qualities that make me capable of becoming an effective leader. Upon starting the program, I admittedly felt out of place. I was doing well in school, but never fully broke out of my shell. However, the program provided me with the confidence necessary to grow as a scholar, artist, and leader, and I hope to incorporate the valuable lessons learned from the program into my everyday life.
Andy Feliciano is a 2020 Social Science Scholar at Florida State University. You can learn more about Andy and The Spectacle here.
The feature image is from Pexels.