Where I Found My Passions: Video Transcript

Lauren Friedrich, JD (BA Political Science, Miami, 2011) [practices educational law at a small law firm in Maryland, where she represents Maryland school districts]: Miami is really where I found my passions in life. Coming from high school, you kind of know what you want to be when you grow up, but you don't really know where your passions lie.

At Miami, I found that I had a passion for women's issues. I had no idea coming into college that I had such an interest in this topic, but going forward, it was really instrumental in knowing this. For instance, in law school, I wrote on the Journal of Women and the Law, and it was a great experience, and I never would have known to try out for that journal hadn't I had my experience at Miami.

So for me, one of the things that shaped my experience here at Miami was meeting a professor named Dr. Hamlin. I stumbled into her class sophomore year by happenstance and found out that we had a lot of the same interests — interests that I didn't know I had, but upon meeting her, we collaborated over the years on what classes I should take, what experiences I should get involved in on campus, and it was great to have her as a mentor when I was here at Miami.

I participated in the Undergraduate Associate Program here at Miami, which is kind of like a TA program. I did it for an American Studies 205 class, which is the Introduction to American Studies. It was a huge class, but one of the cool things that came from it was that I got to lead discussion sections with smaller groups of students, which allowed me to get to know them a little better and to work one-on-one with them on their writing styles and just their general analysis on the topics that we were discussing.

I was really involved in the pre-law programs here. I worked at the pre-law office when it first opened up and I also founded the Pre-Law Society that I just saw is still here, which made me very happy. Not only did those experiences allow me to tap into the pre-law resources here at Miami, but they also allowed me to meet a lot of people both on campus and in the legal alumni network of Miami, which were both very instrumental to both my time here and then going forward into law school and my legal career.

I was able to bring in a lot of legal resources as well as scientific resources, which melded together my interest in gender and sexuality studies as well as got me to focus on my upcoming career in law.

The great thing about a liberal arts degree is it makes you think outside of the box and it puts you in situations that you're not familiar with, and it makes you think about things in a way that you haven't before. And for me, personally, in the practice of law, that's what it's all about - whether it be thinking of creative arguments for my client or whether it be anticipating the other side's argument so that I can answer them, that's what a liberal arts degree prepared me for.

I would say beyond graduation to really reach out to the alumni network. It's something that I never considered when I was a student, but it's very instrumental in getting where you want to be. Not only are Miami alumni doing really cool, neat things, but Miami alumni really value and treasure their experiences here and want to help out the students. And I think that reaching out and talking to them, you never know where it will get you.

[October 2014]