Sarah Basset, Legal Studies, Class of 2019

Why did you pick your major?

I actually came into Quinnipiac as an undeclared student, and I stayed that way until almost the last-possible moment; I did not declare a major until I was at the end of my sophomore year.

Ever since I was a child, I have wanted to help people and make big changes in the world.  I did community service and volunteered in my community for years, and while I loved to do that and continue to do so, I found myself becoming frustrated and disillusioned with how I seemed to only be helping the few (which is still really important!) but the bigger, underlying cause was never actually getting fixed.

After taking some legal studies classes, I found myself drawn more and more to the idea of becoming a lawyer; someone who could advocate for those who could not advocate for themselves, and who could push for greater change while still helping people on an individual basis.  What really sold me on the major was that I felt like taking the classes offered not only prepared me for law school, but also prepared me to be a more well-rounded, interdisciplinary person in general.

Why do you like it?

I love being a legal studies major, and large part of what makes the major so enjoyable is the professors and classes they teach.

My professors have all been lawyers in some capacity, and they give us real-life examples, situations, and practice with our course material.  It is not just learning from the book, it is learning from their experience.  I never feel as though I am just learning facts and policies and statutes; I feel as though I am learning how to apply those facts and policies and statutes to real-life examples.  They are passionate about what they teach, and they care so much about their students.  I never feel like just a face in the crowd in their classes.  They know us by name, and know our personalities and goals as well, and do their best to foster and guide us.

Another reason why I love it is because there is so much room for personalization in the major.  Every legal studies major is required to have a minor, and this can be anything.  I have had friends that have minors in other academic schools, or in interdisciplinary fields. This flexibility helps us to find something that we are passionate about, and helps to make connections between various fields of study and to apply it to our major.

Quinnipiac does a great job in preparing you for the field that you are interested in working in, as well as giving you opportunities to gain hands-on experience doing so.  I think this really sets us apart from other institutions, as we are given the chance to apply what we learn hands-on, and that is a form of learning that no lecture can replicate.

Do you have a professional field in mind?

I am currently in the midst of applying to law school, and I hope to go on and become a lawyer.  I would love to work in international law and advocacy, specifically with human rights law.  I would like to continue learning languages, and learning about various cultures and histories in the world.

What other opportunities or experiential learning have you engaged in to help clarify areas of interest or prepare for life after QU?

I am a member of the Global Engagement Fellows, which is a group of students across the various schools who have a passion for human rights and sustainable change.  We work on community action projects with local groups in order to help people in ways that are not just “band-aid” solutions.

I highly recommend to everyone who is interested to look into studying abroad.  I went to Switzerland in the spring semester of my junior year and it was life-changing experience.

I also had the phenomenal opportunity to travel to NYC through the Oxford Consortium of Human Rights, where I got to tour the UN, speak with leaders in the field of international law, grassroots change initiatives and development programs, and hear their advice and learn tools to do so on my own.  Many thanks to the College of Arts and Sciences, who sponsored me and a few other students to go!

Lastly, I have been a Peer Catalyst in the First-Year Seminar classes, the Legal Studies representative for the College of Arts and Sciences Student Council, as well as an Orientation Leader.  Those leadership experiences have gone a long way in giving me the confidence in myself as a leader, as well as given me the chance to become friends with so many people that I might not have been able to meet otherwise.

What advice would you give to a student considering majoring in Legal Studies?

Keep an open mind!  It is not just for people who want to be lawyers, and the program is not just geared to law school.  It is a program that allows you to explore your own interests.  Law touches almost every single aspect of our lives in some way, shape, or form, and the possibilities are endless.

Also, seek out opportunities.  There is so much more to learn from than just your classes, and they will help you grow exponentially.  You only get four years at Quinnipiac, so make the most of your time and do as much as you can!

By Anna Brogan
Anna Brogan Director of Client Success