Hello everyone! My name is Connor Stockenberg, and I’m a fourth year political science and international affairs major. Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: this is my last year at UGA and, by extension, SPIA. It’s quite a sad thought to say the least, but now that we’re a month in, I’ve done a decent bit of reflecting on my time here, as well as how I can make the most of what’s left. When looking back, I can see I’ve definitely made the rounds. I’ve interned in Washington, D.C. as part of the Washington Semester Program (WSP.) I was part of last year’s cohort of the Applied Politics Program, and this year I am part of the Security Leadership Program (SLP.) All of these were and are invaluable experiences for me that have helped me to grow, learn, and develop in so many ways, and you should definitely look into doing all of these and then some.

All of that said, I would not be where I am today if it were not for the first organization I attempted to join on campus as a transfer student in the middle of the pandemic: The Phi Kappa Literary Society. It’s at times difficult to put into words how meaningful this one organization has been to me, but, suffice to say, it has been my rock and base in my time at UGA and SPIA in general. For one, I applied to almost all of the programs I mentioned above with the mentorship and encouragement of Phi Kappa members. But even more than that, Phi Kappa has and will continue to provide an outlet for me to grow as a person and better prepare me for the professional world.

For the uninitiated, the Phi Kappa Literary Society is a historic student organization on campus going back to 1820 specializing in debate, oratory, and creative writing. We meet every Thursday at 7PM to debate a variety of topics ranging from nuclear energy, the powers of the President, reboots and their affect on the film industry, or even if NBC’s The Office is overrated or not.

All of this seems pretty standard for a debate club, but what makes Phi Kappa even more special is the people, the siblings as we call them. Members of the Phi Kappa Literary Society are some of the smartest and most talented students I have ever met on this campus (of which there are many!) It is due to the members of the Phi Kappa Literary Society constantly pushing me to be the best version of myself that I am now able to enter my last year of undergraduate college with my head held high – that despite the pandemic I was able to accomplish so much both at SPIA and UGA. So, I highly encourage anyone who’s wanting to improve their speaking skills or immerse themselves in one of UGA’s early traditions to check us out! I promise it will be worth it!