blog postsHow my LAS degree prepared me for graduate schoolApr 10, 2017 2:00 pm by Emily NewtonShare on FacebookTweetEmailImagesSince graduating from Illinois in 2015 with a degree in psychology, I have been pursuing a double master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling, and forensic and legal psychology at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. Additionally, I have had the pleasure of working as an honors intern with the Department of Justice. On the first day of my internship, I was a nervous wreck. For starters, I could not help but think the agency had made a terrible mistake in choosing me for one of the most prestigious internship opportunities available in the nation’s capital. As I walked up to the monstrous building where I would be working, I had one important thought that calmed my nerves: my time as a student at the University of Illinois prepared me for this. Although I was nervous on my first day, I could not contain my enthusiasm and excitement to begin my work. In fact, I was so eager to begin, my unit chief called me out for being “ferociously excited.” At first, I was a little embarrassed by this observation. However, to me, “ferociously excited” means being eager to learn and explore new opportunities. It was this exact attitude that defined my time at Illinois, as well. Delete Edit embedded media in the Files Tab and re-insert as needed. Now that I have spent two years as a graduate student and one year as a Department of Justice honors intern, I still believe I owe my success to Illinois and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. The time I spent conducting research with some of the most distinguished professors in the Department of Psychology prepared me to go into graduate school feeling confident in my ability to work with professors on a higher level. The time I devoted to classes prepared me to think critically and articulate my thoughts at research symposiums. My time as a student ambassador with LAS Leaders (an amazing organization you should check out on Quad Day) prepared me to feel comfortable collaborating with federal employees who have been in the field for years. The value of obtaining a degree from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences is that it gives you a dynamic education. With a degree in LAS, you are exposed to a variety of skills that make you valuable in the workplace. You will learn how to think critically about abstract topics in psychology, biology, communication, history, and many more areas. Most importantly, you will have the freedom to choose classes from various disciplines that will enhance your primary area of study. Growing up, I had no idea I would one day have the goal of becoming a special agent with the FBI. Even upon beginning my college career, my dream was to become a clinical psychologist. However, as I look back on my time at Illinois, and the opportunities it gave me, it doesn’t surprise me. If I could leave you with a few words of wisdom to guide your time at the University of Illinois, it would be this: Be ferociously excited. Seek out any opportunity that makes you feel even the slightest bit interested. Join organizations that will help you define your leadership style and complement your academic studies. Finally, do not be afraid to say yes to opportunities that might put you outside your comfort zone- you will rise to the occasion! LAS at Illinois supplied me with an incredible foundation that has set me up to be successful in graduate school and the work place. During your time at Illinois, hundreds of doors will be opened; however, it is nothing compared to the number of doors that will be opened because of your time at Illinois! The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers more than 70 majors and provides a world-class interdisciplinary education that prepares students for lives of impact. Learn more about LAS.