Pre-Law Society Entertains Alumni (and they educate us!)

By Jordan Long

At this week’s meeting Heather (President) made a quick but concise introduction, introducing us to some upcoming events, issuing some reminders, and confirming minutes. But the real order of business is the introduction of Alejandra Galvan and Lexi Gonzales, who were introduced by Professor Yawn.

Yawn asked a few questions to get the discussion started, the first being “Are you both first generation students?” They answer yes, and Lexi mentions that she is a first-generation graduate student.  

What was the biggest change from Sam Houston to law school? 

In response to this, Alejandra urged us, “DO NOT SHOW UP UNPREPARED!” In law school, the expectation is that students will be prepared, know the material, and will speak clearly and loudly when called upon. That’s not always the case in our current classes…

What were some classes that were helpful from Sam? 

exi noted that her Pre-Law class with Professor Yawn, her theatre class (which helped her with speaking), and her other political science classes were helpful. Alex noted that, while some classes were helpful, Moot Court was probably the most helpful.

How did networking and relationships you built help get you into law school? 

To this, Alex mentioned her internship in the Texas Senate, where she made friends with other staff and professionals. These types of relationships helped her build her resume and get internships during law school. She also advised, “do things that make you uncomfortable: that’s how you grow.”

Lexi reminded us that, “Everyone in the room is part of your network.” Our fellow organization members are interested in law, all are likely to go into the field, and, accordingly, all could help us land a job.

When it was our time to ask questions, President Barodi led off by asking whether working after graduation helped or hindered. Alex noted that she would have liked taking a gap year, but she urged us to make the most of a gap year, suggesting that take on an interesting job or enjoying unique experiences.

Lexi noted that she tried to make the most of her experiences even before her gap year(s). She recalled her volunteerism during spring break her senior year, which involved waking up at five am each morning, making milk and cheese, and, on one occasion, cutting the umbilical cord of a goat. She, too, encouraged us to get out of our comfort zones.

Jackie Galo asked a question many students have: do you need to go into law school knowing what kind of law you want to practice? The answer to that, is “no.” Lexi, in fact, still isn’t sure what type of law she wants to practice. For Alex, the decision came organically. She was involved in eminent domain issues while interning in the senate, then took a course on property law, and she ended up being interested in it.

Max asked about internships, a popular topic. Alex, who had three internships as an undergraduate, discussed getting her internships through the organizations she was in (LEAP Ambassadors). She didn’t always do well in the interviews, but she stuck with it, and encouraged us: “Don’t be afraid of being rejected.”

Lexi also got her undergraduate internships through LEAP, working at the Wynne Home and, later, at the State Legislature.

In closing, Lexi encouraged us to read, “How to Sort of Be Happy in Law School” and Alex just left us with two pieces of advice: (1) Read, and (2) Be kind to everyone.

Afterward, they were surrounded by students interested in more of what they had to say. All of us were grateful for their time and, at least for the moment, felt the urge to go home and read.

Author: mikeyawn

Mike Yawn teaches at Sam Houston State University. In the past few years, he has taught courses on Politics & Film, Public Policy, the Presidency, Media & Politics, Congress, Statistics, Research & Writing, Field Research, and Public Opinion. He has published academic papers in the Journal of Politics, Political Behavior, Social Security Quarterly, Film & History, American Politics Review, and contributed a chapter to the textbook Politics and Film. He also contributes columns, news analysis, and news stories to newspapers such as the Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express News, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Stamford Advocate, Greenwich Time, Huron Daily Tribune, Laredo Morning Times, Beaumont Enterprise, Connecticut Post, and Midland Reporter Telegram. Yawn is also active in his local community, serving on the board of directors of the local YMCA and Friends of the Wynne. Previously, he served on the Huntsville's Promise and Stan Musial World Series Boards of Directors. In 2007-2008, Yawn was one of eight scholars across the nation named as a Carnegie Civic Engagement Scholar by the Carnegie Foundation.

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