15 Things People Say To Pre-Law Majors
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15 Things People Say To Pre-Law Majors

15 Things People Say To Pre-Law Majors
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It’s one of the first questions you get asked on campus or even off campus when you tell someone you are a college student: What’s your major? Whether it be by a coworker, new friend, relative, professor, classmate, hair stylist, or Melissa from State Farm (Move over, Jake, the attention isn’t all yours anymore), you will be asked this a lot during your college career. If you have a common major, you will probably mostly get responses like, “What would you like to do with that degree?” or “That’s great, you know that field is always hiring.” If you are a pre-law major, you are going to get different responses.

Sometimes the response is great and genuine interest is expressed (shoutout to Melissa for this one—I loved that you actually wanted to talk about this with me while helping me out that one day). Sometimes the response is one that you have heard many times before. As a criminal justice major with my plans to attend law school upon completion of my undergraduate education, I have heard many responses to my choice in major. Warning, though: The following article is made up mostly of "Legally Blonde" references.

1.“So you’re going to be a cop?”

Oh, sweetie. No. It seems to me that people tend to forget that criminal justice majors don’t all have to be cops. They could be cops, paralegals, court clerks, lawyers, and many others. I have told people, “Actually, I want to be a lawyer,” more times than I can count.

2.“You are going to be doing so much reading.”

Yes, I am. I have heard this one many times now. You should have seen my required reading last semester for Dr. Clayton’s criminal law and criminal procedures classes. That was a lot of reading (and printing) and this is just the undergraduate portion of my education. Learning the law requires case reading, and just the reading for one case can be quite lengthy. Don’t be surprised when you see me around campus toting around a stack of books. Plus, if Dr. Clayton has anything to do with it, I can promise you all that when I receive my Bachelor’s degree, I will already have a good start to my own law library.

3.“I bet you talk law even outside of class and your homework.”

For the record, I do sometimes. Talking law is sometimes frustrating, at least in class when I can’t think of the correct wording. It seems to come almost effortless outside of the classroom though.

4.“Are you sure you handle that? I mean, law school is hard to get into, and it only gets harder from there.”

Just like Chuck here, this is exactly what goes through my head when hearing this one. You are not me, but you are making assumptions as to what I can and can’t handle. I’ll have you know I do have a full plate, but that plate is only going to continue to get fuller as I continue. I am aware of this, I have a great family support, and I will accomplish what I set out to do. This girl doesn’t leave the playing field empty handed, either I get my trophy or I play the game till I get it.

5.“I wouldn’t have thought you would be the kind of girl to want to go to law school.”

I have heard this one only a few times. I assume that is a good thing. I did have a conversation at the end of the spring semester with a professor I had taken in my first semester, and taken another class with during the spring, for her to tell me that she was surprised that I was a criminal justice major. Not because of my academic habits and traits, but because of her first impression of me almost three years ago. She had thought I would have been an art or psychology major. She also said that I had seemed to have had a lot of personal growth since that first class in fall 2013, as she still recognized certain mannerisms that I had continued, but that I had built onto them, improved myself and evolved into someone that she wasn’t surprised to know was a pre law student, and could see as a successful attorney.

6.“You must be pretty confident.”

Why, thank you! I like to think I am. And just like Elle, I don’t think that I need any backups for law school. I plan to go to TU School of Law, and that is where I will go. Confidence is the first step to success. I believe I can do anything, and with my friends and family by my side, I will.

7.“You are going to be taking on a great deal of student loan debt.”

I’m sorry, but I have heard this plenty of times, and this is my only response now. Law school is expensive. Planning to go to a private law university, such as TU, is even more expensive than, say, OU Law. However, through hard work and academic achievement, I can only hope, pray, and cross my fingers that I qualify for scholarships. And if I don’t, then I’ll just cuss under my breath while signing the student loan papers every semester/school year for those three long years.

8.“You’re a pre-law student?”

Yes, I am. And yes, it is hard. However, it’s what I am passionate about and what I truly want to do with my life. That makes it a little easier. And like Elle, sometimes I am oblivious to the challenges that lie ahead for me. However, it’s nothing that hard work and a comfy pair of heels can’t fix! (Just kidding, anyone who knows me knows that I have baby giraffe legs and would break my neck in heels.)

9.“I love crime dramas. Is that where you were inspired to pursue law?”

My face every time. OK, I do watch many crime shows. ("Law and Order: SVU" and "Forensic Files" being my favorites.) But no that isn’t what inspired me to study law. I can’t pinpoint what really inspired me, I just know that I want to help people, and that the idea of typing up motions, coming to court, speaking to various members of the courthouse workgroup, and negotiating with other attorneys on terms for agreement make me excited, bright-eyed, and eager to be a part of the scheme of it.

10.“You’re a good person. Why would you want to be a lawyer?”

And I am going to stop you there. On my first day in criminal law one, Dr. Clayton had our class pledge to not only learn the law, and uphold the law, but to call out injustice and to fight to have it righted. Because the only way to be a successful member of the criminal justice system, is to ensure that its original function is still unbiasedly intact, and that the law and justice are carried out blindly, regardless of race, sex, socioeconomic status, etc. Lawyers can be good people, too. We need good people to be lawyers. We need criminal justice professionals who have a conscience, and will abide by ethical and moral standards.

11.“That sounds hard. How do you do it all?”

I have come to this realization. I miss a lot of sleep once the semester gets going, and I don’t expect that to change at any time within the next six years. But with coffee as my witness and my faithful best friend, I will stay awake and I will pass all the classes! (Sorry, Pokemon, I gotta catch all the grades before I can catch all of you.)

12.“What keeps you from losing your mind?”

Moments like this. When I am extremely stressed out and think I might break down, I can turn to Jack, and he will hug me and tell me I will get through this. Or I cuddle one of the dogs until I feel better.

13.“A criminal justice major won’t get you into law school. You should go for something else.”

Maybe versatility is a good thing, and maybe a criminal justice degree isn’t my only way to get into law school. Regardless of that, it is the degree I have chosen. I may call you a liar if you tell me this, but I can guarantee I would never waste perfectly yummy chocolates by throwing it at something/someone.

14.“Have you seen 'Legally Blonde'?”

Only about a million times. It’s one of my favorite movies. It just goes to show that you can’t judge someone on first impressions, appearance, or really anything. People can surprise you. Elle Woods surprised her family, friends, and an entire law school by not only going to Harvard, but graduating as the valedictorian. In a world of Kardashian’s, I aspire to be an Elle.

15."You will be in school for so long, won’t you get burnt out before you graduate?"

That’s a chance I sadly have to take. I do know that when I finally graduate with my J.D. that I will be as excited as Elle and might not even be able to say “We did it!” before my voice goes too high pitched to understand.

Thanks for reading this to the end, I hope I made you smile. And to all the pre-law majors out there, remember to be Elle! Be amazing, and sparkle while doing it.

Oh, and if anyone mentions this article to Dr. Clayton, please note that I am referring to her in a positive tone. I prefer to stay in her good graces. Thanks.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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