Challenging Yourself in SPIA

By: Joseph Suen

One reason why I chose a major in SPIA was because of the interest I had in both law and politics. As I took more and more SPIA-related courses, I started to understand the importance and unique structure of our nation’s political schema and dynamics. As a student who also wants to go to law school after my undergraduate studies, I found myself constantly trying to relate my political science classes to concepts within law studies.

One class that I took was Constitutional Law Powers, and I can confidently say that this class was the hardest yet most fulfilling class out of all my SPIA courses. It’s easy to say “I want to go to law school” but it’s hard to truly get a glimpse of what law school may be like until you’re there. You can hear from your friends at law school about the immense workload and cutthroat experience, and you can also read about it online, but nothing will truly impact you until you are there in your first law school class. Although I’m not in law school yet, taking the Constitutional Law Powers course in my undergraduate career opened my eyes up a little bit on maybe a speck of what law school may be like. My intention of taking the class was to see if I was “up for it” because I’ve heard from friends that it’d be similar to a law school class. Studying for this class took many hours of my week, and every page of the textbook seemed like an eternity to get through as I had to constantly re-read information to implant it into my brain. Furthermore, the classroom experience seemed more intimidating than friendly. There were times where I felt that my peers knew much more about the cases or subjects being discussed than me, and as a result it worried me but also spurred me on to study harder that night. I remember being nervous to speak out in class because I was afraid I’d say something incorrect and make a fool of myself.

Although it took a lot of hours of hard work, I knew that by challenging myself to take this course would be both productive and fulfilling. I realized that I was passionate and interested in the content of the course, and this helped me look past the short-term pain and allowed me to actually learn. Constitutional Law Powers mainly focuses on the Supreme Court of the United States and historic decisions that molded our country into what it is today. The topic is something that is unique to SPIA, and the privilege to learn about our nation’s past achievements and mistakes should not be taken for granted. For any student, the greatest joy is earning a well-fought for grade in a challenging course. I am proud of myself for taking the step to take this class, and I encourage any other SPIA students who are nervous of taking “hard classes” to push yourself and give it a shot!