Andrew was accepted to the School of Undergraduate Studies instead of his first choice, architecture. After a tough first semester, Andrew worked with his advisor in the Center for Strategic Advising & Career Counseling to pull up his grades and explore his interests. Now, he is graduating on time with a degree in government and plans to attend law school this fall.
“[The School of Undergraduate Studies] gave me the time to actually find a major that fit what I wanted to, instead of coming into UT as a certain major, going through that curriculum and realizing, I don’t really like this.”
Finding a Major
Coming to UT was probably the best decision I could have made—I could have stayed home. Another blessing that I didn’t know at the time was that I did get into the School of Undergraduate Studies. It gave me the time to actually find a major that fit what I wanted to, instead of coming into UT as a certain major, going through that curriculum and realizing, I don’t really like this. Instead, I took a more broad curriculum my first two semesters and kind of realized, ok, I like this, I don’t like that. Especially in my first semester, I realized I really didn’t like math, so architecture [my first choice major] would have been horrible.
I looked at a lot of majors—geology, kinesiology—man, there were like five or six, but I realized that I wanted to go to law school eventually. I asked Rose about it, and she said, ok, you could do government or you could do something else. But I really thought government was the way to go for me—and a business minor (through the Business Foundations Program).
Road Bumps and Strategic Advising Support
I had originally applied to be in architecture, but I didn’t get accepted, and [admissions] put me in the School of Undergraduate Studies. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at the time. I had a really bad first semester here and was put on academic probation. That’s when I realized how good the School of Undergraduate Studies is. My advisor Rose, specifically, she took me under her wing and helped me get out of it in one semester. It was really 80% Rose, to be honest.
I realized that some of my difficulty my first semester had to do with the education I received before I got to UT. I’ve felt like I had to catch up. I had to sacrifice being in organizations for spending a Friday or Saturday night at the library.
Being a Government Major
Being in liberal arts in general, you get an experience that’s more well rounded. I had a lot of government classes, but you have to take so much more than that—you have to get your humanities, your ethics in, etc. I also had the opportunity to take classes within liberal arts that had to do with law—like business law. Being a liberal arts major also gave me the flexibility to pursue something else I was passionate about—the Business Foundations Certificate —that I might not have gotten to do if I was a student in a different major.
I’ve had three years of internships. My first two years, I was an intern at the court system in McAllen. I did basic work and viewed a lot of court sessions—everything from traffic tickets to murder cases. Last summer I was the lead intern. I was in charge of anywhere from two to four other interns—getting their work in, training them, etc.
I learned I like business law and union law, where you negotiate labor contracts and stuff. I want to stay away from criminal law, because, after interning for three years, you realize it’s more stress than you need. It’s kind of like gambling all the time, with the courts and the jury.
Most Rewarding Class
I think the most rewarding class I took would be the business law class I took for the Business Foundations Certificate. It gave me a glimpse into what I was looking forward to as a career, and it reinforced my decision to pursue law. And it challenged me intellectually—it wasn’t just some class you could blow off.
Post Graduation Plans
I’ve applied to law school and will hear back in April.
Advice for UGS Students
My advice for UGS students is don’t be afraid to do certain things. I’ve had problems with anxiety my whole life, and I’ve realized you just can’t worry about it—you just gotta take what you’ve been given and work with it.