In 2004, I travelled by car with my family to Washington DC on vacation. To pass the time, my father devised a game. He would ask a question related to history, government or politics. The first answer was free. After that, my sister and I would win a dollar for every right answer we could repeat and would lose twenty-five cents for every wrong answer. How many members in the house of representatives? What are the three branches of government? Who’s the Secretary of Defense?
It wasn’t much, but when we got to the capital, I had a few dollars in my pocket and a basic understanding of the framework of government. Since then, I’ve travelled to Europe and have been around the United States. Through that initial experience, travel has always been a chance to learn, not just to go on vacation.
Fast forward to today: I’ve been active in my church. I volunteer to lead youth groups and conduct seminars on the stresses of being a teenager. The cliche that I volunteer because I want to give back to the community is true; it’s also true that I get a lot out of it. I get a chance to learn about other people, and I get to learn about myself and my commitments.
Although active in the church, volunteering for the past five years, the experience of following politics has changed the way I look at most institutions. The church was no exception. I question many aspects of Christian dogma and have always used church teaching as I did politics, as a point of view and not necessarily an absolute. I’ve realized through my volunteer work that opinions on politics vary depending on social and economic conditions. Worded differently, politics and economics are interdependent.
Never was I more confronted with this fact than two summers ago. Through my volunteer work, I had a chance to attend the World Youth Conference in Brazil. Again, through my early experiences, I saw the trip as a chance to learn about a culture, and to challenge myself with understanding a different point of view. It was during the protests of the Vatican, the World Cup, and Olympics.
My trip, important to me, was not simply a vacation. As it had been when I went to Washington, I was challenged on my opinions. Did I understand the politics that related to the people in Rio? Did I know what the president had in mind when she embraced these prestigious events? As I had done years earlier, I found myself in Rio with a better framework for the workings of Brazil – and of the world in general.
I plan to earn a degree in Political Economy, and to use the framework created during my leisure time, but cultivated from a lifelong interest in government, social situations and business.
We are proud to announce Antonio Sakkis is one of the current JustJobs Scholarship finalists. Vote for his essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), click the ‘heart’ just above comments section below, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.