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illicitxyz

I Can't Pick An Undergrad Major

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Hey everyone, I've been lurking this site for like 2 years now, finally have a reason to post here though... I'm almost 20, and just about to start my undergrad (I had legal problems of my own, but they should be dealt with by April (I won)). I'm really interested in Politics and Law, I love talking to people and understanding them. So far I've applied to a few Undergraduate programs:

 

York: Law and Society, Business and Society, Financial and Business Economics

Waterloo: Honours Arts and Business [Psychology], Public Health, and Environment and Business

Guelph: Criminology, Psychology

Brock: BBA

Ryerson: Business Management

 

My high school average is 98%, mainly Politics, Business, and Law classes, so I have a pretty good feeling that my GPA in University will be extremely high as well, if that means anything.

 

So as you can tell, my interests are all over the place, I just can't decide what I really want to hone in on... I would love to do Criminal Law because I have had a lot of experience with that over the past 2 years, and I've read the entire Criminal Code and a bunch of books about Criminal Law and I've basically fallen in love with it, specifically the Defense aspect of it. I love being able to navigate and circumvent "rules", I sort of have a knack for it, since I was like 10. But I also love Health care, and Business... I would love to be part of a Hospital's counsel, or even Corporate counsel. 

 

I don't even know why I'm writing this, but I guess I'm just wondering, what did you guys do for your undergrad, and why? Did you guys know what you wanted to specialize in right away, or did you just take a chance at something and went flying with it? If you picked something and then decided to switch, what did you switch too and why?

 

I'm currently leaning towards University of Waterloo's Honours Arts and Business Program with Co-op because Psychology really interests me and I think it might be useful for Criminal Law especially, and the fact that Waterloo has a pretty well know Psychology program world wide. Also, the place is filled with important people, and I love the small city vibe it gives off especially around the University. (I live in a city of 650,000 people). So those are the things influencing my decision right now mainly. I don't really care about the university, just the program really, and if it will be interesting or not. 

 

Wondering if you guys have any thoughts about this, or am I just over thinking things and need to shut the hell up? Lol

Edited by illicitxyz

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I was an English major, and I have no idea what area of law I'm going to want to study more of (0L). My advice is simply to take a major that you're going to enjoy and succeed in (and maybe something that will get you a job if you decide later on that law isn't for you). Don't worry too much about it yet. Good luck!

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Holy crap... Youre interested in everything and nothing all at the same time. I say that kindly. You don't need to worry too much about selecting an undergrad geared towards a specific area of the law. If you end up in law school you can specialize then. For now you need to consider what courses you'd actually enjoy studying for four years and also decide where you want to live. Something you don't need to consider: the important psychologists at Waterloo and things of that nature.

 

Perhaps take general arts courses for your first year and chose a major while in university? I'm pretty sure this is a thing. I didn't do an arts degree so I might be full of it... Someone will correct me I'm sure

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Do something that interests you for its own sake, not because you imagine it will someday be useful to a possible career path you may never actually take.

 

I can speak to criminal law. My advice is this. Your undergraduate should teach you how to organize and how to communicate. These are broad skills that can be learned myriad ways so there is no specific degree that will put you at an advantage.

 

The single most important thing you can do aside from getting high grades and writing a solid LSAT is to grow up. Use your time during your undergraduate degree to challenge your comfort zones and live independently. Get a job off campus. Pay your bills. Learn to cook. Learn to file taxes.

 

Volunteer somewhere that brings you face to face with real problems you cannot hope to resolve and can only mitigate in some small way. Learn your place. Be humble. Invest your time in quality people rather than petty or arrogant people. Accept that other people struggle more than you. Accept that you don't know the answers. Law is a service industry. Learn to serve.

 

It isn't about the subject of your degree. It's about learning who you are in the world and where you fit. Pay attention, be bold, admit when you fail and fail better the next time.

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I was an English major, and I have no idea what area of law I'm going to want to study more of (0L). My advice is simply to take a major that you're going to enjoy and succeed in (and maybe something that will get you a job if you decide later on that law isn't for you). Don't worry too much about it yet. Good luck!

 

 

Hey Radche, thanks for taking the time to reply. Alright, yeah that's what I thought most people would say. The job thing, I'm not really worried since I don't plan on working for a while, my parents are fortunate enough to allow me to try my hand at Law, but if that doesn't work out, they'll find me something to do in our Family business (Real Estate). So that's another reason I guess why I'm so lost, it's probably not hitting me as much as it should!

 

 

Holy crap... Youre interested in everything and nothing all at the same time. I say that kindly. You don't need to worry too much about selecting an undergrad geared towards a specific area of the law. If you end up in law school you can specialize then. For now you need to consider what courses you'd actually enjoy studying for four years and also decide where you want to live. Something you don't need to consider: the important psychologists at Waterloo and things of that nature.

 

Perhaps take general arts courses for your first year and chose a major while in university? I'm pretty sure this is a thing. I didn't do an arts degree so I might be full of it... Someone will correct me I'm sure

 

Yeah, welcome to my life, I've done so much but really feel like I've done nothing! Yeah, most of the courses in Arts are electives, so I will definitely try other areas out, in Waterloo only 40% of your Major is Arts courses, and the rest 60% come from Electives mostly, save for a few required ones. I'll try my hand at some Maths and Sciences (Biotech probably) and see how that goes.

 

 

Do something that interests you for its own sake, not because you imagine it will someday be useful to a possible career path you may never actually take.

 

I can speak to criminal law. My advice is this. Your undergraduate should teach you how to organize and how to communicate. These are broad skills that can be learned myriad ways so there is no specific degree that will put you at an advantage.

 

The single most important thing you can do aside from getting high grades and writing a solid LSAT is to grow up. Use your time during your undergraduate degree to challenge your comfort zones and live independently. Get a job off campus. Pay your bills. Learn to cook. Learn to file taxes.

 

Volunteer somewhere that brings you face to face with real problems you cannot hope to resolve and can only mitigate in some small way. Learn your place. Be humble. Invest your time in quality people rather than petty or arrogant people. Accept that other people struggle more than you. Accept that you don't know the answers. Law is a service industry. Learn to serve.

 

It isn't about the subject of your degree. It's about learning who you are in the world and where you fit. Pay attention, be bold, admit when you fail and fail better the next time.

 

 

Yeah, I've been doing a lot of independent things since 2014. Interesting tidbit about the volunteering with real problems, so you mean like Legal Aid offices, or maybe at a Law Firm? I've talked to a few about it and they said they'd be happy to let me volunteer with them. (I made some contacts because my own Legal problems and they're pretty cool about it). 

 

I was charged for Weapons, and I just read that a previous charge, could impact your ability to get into Law School, is this something else to consider, or do you think I would be fine? The specifics of my case were basically, the Weapon in question (common tool found in any garage) was never used and always kept in my backpack, and I was arrested for it after the Police took 6 hours to "do an investigation" but came up with nothing that proved I intended to harm anyone and endanger public peace. I was in school for about 1 minute and 30 seconds, before I was being detained, so "nothing happened" but I was still charged. Do Law Schools allow you to explain this, or do they automatically disqualify you? 

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First off, after an hour posts are forever. Might want to edit some of those details.

 

Second, any potential issues you have will not be with law schools. Convicted murderers have attended law school.

 

It will be with the provincial law society to which you apply as a person of good character when you want to be Called. No one here can advise you on that. You should call the law society directly. All I can say generally is never ever conceal or lie about your past when you deal with them.

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Business Management, everything else seems pretty dilute of real practical employable skills and generally unfocused. Better to focus on getting a money-making skill rather than learn about artsy things. No offense :)

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First off, after an hour posts are forever. Might want to edit some of those details.

 

Second, any potential issues you have will not be with law schools. Convicted murderers have attended law school.

 

It will be with the provincial law society to which you apply as a person of good character when you want to be Called. No one here can advise you on that. You should call the law society directly. All I can say generally is never ever conceal or lie about your past when you deal with them.

Oh fuck. Well, what's done is done, oh well.

 

And thanks, I was worried!

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Tbh the Waterloo Arts and Bus is meh. All of my friends that started out in the program eventually transferred to something else like Env Bus or ERS, can't comment on why because I forget :(, I'd have to ask them. If you had done more science in high school I would recommend the Science/Bus program, which a few friends of mine graduated from and landed awesome co-op and graduate positions. Maybe there is some sort of health + bus option? Not too sure. Maybe public health has tons of free electives, which you can use to take the business courses. 1/4 of my entire degree were free electives, yay UW. 

Beyond the programs I didn't like Waterloo too much. Was awesome first year because everything was so new but by 4th year I just wanted to get out of there. Could just be personal opinion since I was from the area. I didn't live at home though, still embraced the student life. PM me if you have more questions about Waterloo, school or city (born and raised in KW).

As for your program, take something that interests you. It sounds like you are set on law but don't worry too much about choosing a program that will relate to your legal career. You don't know what area of law you will do yet. Maybe Arts/Bus with a Psych focus is what interests you, then go for it! That major benefit is the co-op. I would HIGHLY recommend a co-op program for a few reasons. A) Make money during undergrad (all my co-op friends fared well in terms of debt, especially those engineers!). B) Might take you to a new city, my friends landed in Vancouver, Ottawa, Seattle etc for co-op. C) Majority of law students enter 1L without a lot of real work experience whereas someone from a co-op position would have 1+ year of work experience that isn't typical part-time or summer jobs. This is a pretty significant advantage when it comes to recruitment for landing interviews. 

 

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 I love being able to... circumvent "rules"

 

Don't tell lawyers that you like to circumvent rules.

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Yeah, it's weird to me that you've been lurking here for two years but haven't picked up on a couple of pretty basic things:

1. What you study in undergrad has no bearing on your future career as a lawyer. If anything, taking a certain path in undergrad as a de facto "pre-law" program can hurt your chances badly by keeping you from developing relevant skills

2. The idea of lawyers as being there to "circumvent 'rules'" is very much something from TV, and is something lawyers---especially the ones around here---detest.

 

a)., Like when you're a criminal lawyer and you know your client killed the guy, but you're able to "get him off on a technicality"? Amongst the general public, that's "circumventing rules". Amongst lawyers, that's upholding rules and the integrity of the system.

b)., "I knew my client killed the guy, so I just hid a bunch of evidence and intimidated a bunch of witnesses into perjuring themselves!" Okay, fine, that's "circumventing rules" according to anybody...but it's, let's say, frowned upon.

 

I don't know - maybe there are some Saul Goodmans out there - but the lawyers I've known, here and in real life, pride themselves on their integrity within the rules as set out by the legal system. And if you're a lawyer, those are the rules that matter - not "common sense" or "everybody knows the guy did it" or whatever.

 

I don't mean any of this to be hard on you. You're no less informed than any other not-even-an-undergrad-yet, and you have nothing to be ashamed of. But if you're going to spend time lurking around here when you're as far away from being a lawyer as you are, at least do so productively. Read stuff posted by lawyers (I'm not one). When people post threads that seem thematically similar to where you are in your life, read what lawyers say in response to them. You'll get the hang of it.


ETA: I've been posting here for nearly eight years, and Hegdis's post at #4 is some of the wisest and kindest advice I have ever seen anyone give anyone here, ever. Take it to heart and you'll go far. Hegdis, thank you for being here and for being you, and where the fuck were you when I was 20? (I feel like even if you'd been around when I was 30, many of my crises could have been averted.)

Edited by Yogurt Baron
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Pick something you like. No undergrad program will prepare you for law school. 

 

 

Not to mention you'll probably get much higher marks if you are enrolled in something you are interested in. It will obviously be way easier to focus if you are engaged.

That being said if you get a worthless arts degree, as I did (history), and you don't get into Law School, you are in for a world of hurt. I'm aware those are hard/impossible to balance, but so be it.

 

 

 

I don't know - maybe there are some Saul Goodmans out there - but the lawyers I've known, here and in real life, pride themselves on their integrity within the rules as set out by the legal system. And if you're a lawyer, those are the rules that matter - not "common sense" or "everybody knows the guy did it" or whatever.

 

 

Well they probably wouldn't tell you about it  :wink:

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Tbh the Waterloo Arts and Bus is meh. All of my friends that started out in the program eventually transferred to something else like Env Bus or ERS, can't comment on why because I forget :(, I'd have to ask them. If you had done more science in high school I would recommend the Science/Bus program, which a few friends of mine graduated from and landed awesome co-op and graduate positions. Maybe there is some sort of health + bus option? Not too sure. Maybe public health has tons of free electives, which you can use to take the business courses. 1/4 of my entire degree were free electives, yay UW. 

 

Beyond the programs I didn't like Waterloo too much. Was awesome first year because everything was so new but by 4th year I just wanted to get out of there. Could just be personal opinion since I was from the area. I didn't live at home though, still embraced the student life. PM me if you have more questions about Waterloo, school or city (born and raised in KW).

 

As for your program, take something that interests you. It sounds like you are set on law but don't worry too much about choosing a program that will relate to your legal career. You don't know what area of law you will do yet. Maybe Arts/Bus with a Psych focus is what interests you, then go for it! That major benefit is the co-op. I would HIGHLY recommend a co-op program for a few reasons. A) Make money during undergrad (all my co-op friends fared well in terms of debt, especially those engineers!). B) Might take you to a new city, my friends landed in Vancouver, Ottawa, Seattle etc for co-op. C) Majority of law students enter 1L without a lot of real work experience whereas someone from a co-op position would have 1+ year of work experience that isn't typical part-time or summer jobs. This is a pretty significant advantage when it comes to recruitment for landing interviews. 

 

 

 

Interesting I didn't know that work experience even unrelated to Law was significant. I currently have about 12 months of work experience already, in Sales and Customer Service roles. Yeah, I don't really care about the university, I grew up not caring about it since I grew up around the world, so places mean nothing to me. The co-op is the reason I chose ARBUS instead of just Arts, since regular Arts has no co-op. I was also considering switching into EB, or SB, but I don't have the course required for SB yet, but I will look into it now, and just take it (My bio mark was like 73, but I need a 75 it seems, so Summer School upgrade probably?) I don't think Waterloo's since faculty cares about repeats in Science any ways so that will be fine. There is no Health option + Business, but my Arts and Business program is only 40% of required courses and the other 60% can be used on any other class, so I could do a double Major in Honours Arts and Business - Psychology and maybe something else like Environment and Business as well, I'm sure I can get them to let me do that without a problem, so that could be another option maybe? Psych + Environment and Business. So many damn options, makes it so hard to decide!

 

 

Yeah, it's weird to me that you've been lurking here for two years but haven't picked up on a couple of pretty basic things:

 

1. What you study in undergrad has no bearing on your future career as a lawyer. If anything, taking a certain path in undergrad as a de facto "pre-law" program can hurt your chances badly by keeping you from developing relevant skills

2. The idea of lawyers as being there to "circumvent 'rules'" is very much something from TV, and is something lawyers---especially the ones around here---detest.

 

a)., Like when you're a criminal lawyer and you know your client killed the guy, but you're able to "get him off on a technicality"? Amongst the general public, that's "circumventing rules". Amongst lawyers, that's upholding rules and the integrity of the system.

b)., "I knew my client killed the guy, so I just hid a bunch of evidence and intimidated a bunch of witnesses into perjuring themselves!" Okay, fine, that's "circumventing rules" according to anybody...but it's, let's say, frowned upon.

 

I don't know - maybe there are some Saul Goodmans out there - but the lawyers I've known, here and in real life, pride themselves on their integrity within the rules as set out by the legal system. And if you're a lawyer, those are the rules that matter - not "common sense" or "everybody knows the guy did it" or whatever.

 

I don't mean any of this to be hard on you. You're no less informed than any other not-even-an-undergrad-yet, and you have nothing to be ashamed of. But if you're going to spend time lurking around here when you're as far away from being a lawyer as you are, at least do so productively. Read stuff posted by lawyers (I'm not one). When people post threads that seem thematically similar to where you are in your life, read what lawyers say in response to them. You'll get the hang of it.

 

 

ETA: I've been posting here for nearly eight years, and Hegdis's post at #4 is some of the wisest and kindest advice I have ever seen anyone give anyone here, ever. Take it to heart and you'll go far. Hegdis, thank you for being here and for being you, and where the fuck were you when I was 20? (I feel like even if you'd been around when I was 30, many of my crises could have been averted.)

 

Thank you Baron, I actually saved the whole thread after reading Hegdis's post haha. Yeah lurking but probably like once every 2 weeks, so I'm not up to date on everything here, but I come and read the questions people have usually. Yeah I agree with you on everything, I don't know how to articulate myself as well as you yet, but one of the reasons I really like the Law is that following it is fun for me, and proving to people they are wrong, or getting people to see it from my point of view, is what I like about it. It gives you a way to express your point of view, and whoever does it better wins, that's something I really find interesting, not even to win, but just to see all the ways you can do something.

 

 

Pick something you like. No undergrad program will prepare you for law school. 

 

Nice, a lot of people that I've spoken to, told me to do something I don't like, so I can explore my interests, but everyone here is saying to do something I like so the grades would be easier to obtain. I will do something in the Arts and Business field though, that much is nearly certain, just don't know what.

 

 

Not to mention you'll probably get much higher marks if you are enrolled in something you are interested in. It will obviously be way easier to focus if you are engaged.

That being said if you get a worthless arts degree, as I did (history), and you don't get into Law School, you are in for a world of hurt. I'm aware those are hard/impossible to balance, but so be it.

 

 

 

Well they probably wouldn't tell you about it  :wink:

 

 

Yeah if I don't get into Law school with the Arts degree, I'll do a Masters and then a PhD in Economics or Psychology. Psychologists can make pretty good money, as well as Economists with PhD's, and that's something I'd be interested in as well. I was actually planning, but this is way far into the future, to do a JD+MA in Global Affairs or International Relations, something along those lines. I'd love to be a Crown Attorney, I'm not really worried about money since it's always been there for me, I'm more interested in the Justice part of it. I could also always go and do Medicine as well, or things like Education Directors, even become a Teacher, so there's a lot of different paths for me specifically since I'm interested in a lot of things for now.

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Thanks for the responses everyone, loved to read them, lots of great advice in here, cleared up my mind quite a bit! I'll be lurking here more often from now on and try to interact as much as I can!

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I've read the entire Criminal Code ... and I've basically fallen in love with it.

 

Some parts of the Criminal Code are entertaining, like s 49 (a), alarming her majesty. However, others are written in this kind of scintillating language: 

 

"The provisions of Parts XVI and XVIII with respect to compelling the appearance of an accused before a justice, and the provisions of Parts XVIII.1, XX and XX.1, in so far as they are not inconsistent with this Part, apply, with any necessary modifications, to proceedings under this Part."

 

Anyone who reads almost 900 statutory provisions for fun has my admiration. And if this floats your boat, then you probably should be a lawyer  :wink:

Edited by realpseudonym

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Pick something you like. No undergrad program will prepare you for law school. 

I disagree. Law school is essentially reading and writing; programs that are heavy on reading, writing and analysis will prepare you indirectly for it by sharpening your writing style, reading comp, etc.

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I disagree. Law school is essentially reading and writing; programs that are heavy on reading, writing and analysis will prepare you indirectly for it by sharpening your writing style, reading comp, etc.

 The implication was that any major would allow you to develop writing and analysis skills...

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Please tell me this was not for fun.

But it IS fun... Why do we have an entire provision about oyster beds? That's just silly.

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