From the age of 12 my goal was to become a lawyer.
I am currently in my second year of law school at the University of Arizona. I plan to practice in the field of Family and Juvenile Law. The history major was incredibly helpful in adjusting to law school life. The level of critical thinking needed for the history major, the level of writing that my professors demanded from me, and the ability to analyze things from many different perspectives are the skills that have helped me most in law school. While law school is completely different and much harder than undergraduate studies, I am so thankful for the skills that being a history major taught me.
Writing my honors thesis was an important lesson for me. As a person who didn’t necessarily want to make history my career the thought of writing such an extensive paper was a bit daunting to me. What I enjoyed most was being able to pick my own topic. The entirety of my senior year consisted of me basically creating my own class - allowed to research and write on whatever I wanted. As a former band nerd and jazz lover, I chose to write about racism and prejudice in the Jazz age. All year I learned and wrote about artists I loved from Frank Sinatra to Louis Armstrong. I was also extremely fortunate to have a great advisor, Juan Garcia, who focused my research and helped my writing progress.
My junior year in Professor Crane’s Holocaust class I had the humbling experience of meeting Holocaust survivors. There were 2-3 students for each survivor and I was grouped with a man. As he began to relay his experiences to us, I realized I had heard the story before. I immediately stopped him and asked, “Wait, are you Sevek?” (a nickname) and he responded that he was. I told him my name and that I had the opportunity to meet him when I was in eighth grade. He burst into tears. Sevek remembered me and said that he still went to my junior high to “speak with Ms. Larson’s history class.” He gave me a big hug and stated that he was so happy to meet “one of his kids” again and how grateful he was to meet me now as a history major. To this day, this is still one of my most special memories. Knowing that people like me, those who study history, are the ones responsible for making sure his story is never forgotten truly touched me.
Advice to prospective history majors: Do it. The smartest people I know have an extensive knowledge of history. Few other fields of study will give you such a unique perspective on the world and current events.
“If you don't know history, then you don't know anything. You are a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree. ” ― Michael Crichton
I love this quote. History is about learning the stories of the people who came before you: what drove them, what influenced them, how events affected them. If you don’t have a basic understanding about why things came to be then you don’t have a basic understanding of who you are.