by Abigail Chasteen

When thinking about what SPIA means to me, I can’t help but remember the impact my favorite political science course has had on me as an individual and on my ideas for a career path. Criminal Procedure was by far the most insightful course I have taken in my time in undergrad. Dr. John Newton inspired and challenged me, and those challenges helped influence my desire to pursue a career in law. Before taking Criminal Procedure, I had no interest in studying law. As both a journalism major and a political science major, I was mainly taking the course to just knock off one of my major requirements among a long list of others. It sounded interesting enough- learning about criminals is interesting, right?- and I was hoping I wouldn’t have to do an insane amount of work to succeed.

On the first day of class, I knew I was wrong. The class was going to take a lot of work. The work wasn’t the problem- it was the fact that I didn’t know if this was something I was passionate about, and in turn something I didn’t want to spend a ton of time on. Nevertheless, I decided to stick it out and see what came of it. And wow- am I so glad I did! Memorizing court case after court case, supreme court justice decisions, and analyzing what this meant for the country as a whole was actually fun to me. It was really hard, and took a lot of my time, but not once did I end up questioning if it was worth it. The more work I did and the more I studied, the more the idea of law school became a reality to me. I eventually decided that the avenue of law, one I had never even considered, was something that I truly was passionate about and could see myself doing.

Ever since then, I’ve been working to get towards that goal. All of my classes in SPIA have encouraged me, pushed me, and molded me into the student and individual I am. If I wouldn’t have had to take a class that was a major requirement, I would’ve never found that unknown passion and desire that has changed the trajectory of my interests and my life. I owe that realization to SPIA. As a SPIA ambassador, I love representing a place that has such meaning to me and sharing that passion with other students. I’m proud to represent a school that is passionate about their students, and to be in a place with professors who will push me to be the best I can be. There are so many avenues political science and international affairs can lead to- I’m so glad I’m learning about them and watching those opportunities shape my own path, while watching other SPIA students find what they are passionate about as well. The possibilities are endless- where can being in SPIA take you?