A Q&A with Honors Political Science Major Jordan Farris
In this conversation, Farris talk about his love of mentoring others and helping fellow students succeed, the importance of activism and change through public policy, the classes that have profoundly changed his perspective and sense of self, and the value of balancing academic achievement with enjoying the college experience.
Q: Tell us a little about your academic passions, research and/or what you’re studying within the college. What excites you about this?
Acquiring knowledge regarding government ignites something within me that is indescribable.
I believe the most effective way to initiate and galvanize change is through political science.
Additionally, I think government is one of the few ways to highlight and underline the pervasive political, economic, and social injustices in our country.
My major strengthens my activism for marginalized communities and serves as buttress to make their voices reverberate throughout policy.
I have been at Fulbright College for roughly three years.
I think my most memorable moment at the University of Arkansas has been being a mentor to first-year students.
I decided to become a mentor because I felt compelled to diversify the University of Arkansas. Many of the students I mentored were students of color and resided in some of the most impoverished areas of Arkansas. Many students in that region are not extended opportunities simply because of their geographic location.
I strongly believe that students who lack resources should not be relegated to the bottom of the social, economic, and political ladder. I became a mentor to help disadvantaged students overcome insurmountable odds.
Good question –– I have so many. I think my two favorite classes thus far has been African American Studies and Sociology.
During the fall of my sophomore year, I enrolled in an African American Studies course. The class invigorated my level of consciousness as an African American male. It taught me that the pigmentation of my skin is not a social disability despite the regurgitated rhetoric seen in the media.
Moreover, the course was empowering and liberating. It helped me, as well as many other students of color, recognize that we do not have to be valorized by our athletic capabilities. We can be adulated by our academic merit. We are in control of our narrative. We are our ancestors’ wildest dreams.
After taking sociology, I learned that I was socialized and conditioned to think a certain way my entire life.
I learned about fundamental components that pinpointed where my sense of self is derived from. Sociology taught me that we as individuals can be so immersed in our own convictions that we tend to disregard the message the other person is attempting to convey; that is unacceptable.
As the great Harold Laswell said, “where you stand depends on where you sit.” Wherever someone decides to sit, they should not be ostracized for it. Sociology undoubtedly contributed to my growth as an individual.
Q: What advice would you give to new students about to join the college?
My biggest piece of advice to students would be to be focused, industrious and open to new experiences.
It is imperative for students to be dedicated to their area of discipline. If they remain tenacious throughout their four years, they will unlock a multitude of opportunities that could help catapult their professional career.
Lastly, I urge prospective students to engage and converse with students who have different physical characteristics. The University of Arkansas is integrated with various cultures that students should explore. I mean –– it is an educational institution, right?
Q: What do you like to do during your time outside of the university?
Ideally, I would love to read and sleep during my free time. But that never seems to happen.
Q: When do you anticipate graduating, and what’s up next on the horizon for you?
After graduating from the University of Arkansas, I plan to take a year or two away from the world of academia.
I think it is in my best interest to decompress and recalibrate before seeking a doctorate degree in political science or going to law school. I am cognizant that both career paths are rigorous and arduous.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add or let readers know?
RELAX, and enjoy your college experience.
I think we as students are so fueled with our ambition and aspirations that we sometimes forget how young we are.
We rarely make time for anything fun. I myself am guilty of that, which is one of my biggest regrets.
Although I am certainly not encouraging students not to make their academics a primary priority, I am merely encouraging students to live a little and enjoy the ride. We will not be young forever.
Editor’s Note: Jordan Farris was also recently selected to attend the prestigious 2019 Ralph Bunche Summer Institute at Duke University, read more in the U of A’s Newswire.