As a sophomore in the College, it’s known that I don’t have to declare my major until next semester. But with minors, there’s much more flexibility in that I can declare a minor my junior or my senior year depending on how far along I am in fulfilling its requirements. Minors range from 6 to 9 credits for the most part, and are relatively easy to fulfill if they overlap with your majors or if you explored some of the courses as part of your general education requirements. I decided to take a stab at the Legal Studies & History minor to see if it piqued my interest.
At first, I wanted to go straight into a 200-level class, which is often slightly more advanced than 100-level classes, so my academic advisor suggested that if I wanted a bit of background, I could take the intro class and see if I liked Legal Studies classes enough to continue with the minor.
The Legal Studies & History minor is super interesting and unique for a number of reasons, the most important one being the fact that it’s a collaboration between the College of Arts and Sciences and the Wharton School of Business. Around half of the classes for the major are in Wharton, which focuses on legal practice, while the other half are in the College, which focus on the history of law in the United States. A lot of people who are interested in going to law school or working in government minor in this, which is why I was initially interested. There are a bunch of other interschool minors, with another Wharton/College one being Consumer Psychology, and another popular one being Nutrition, which is between the College and Nursing.
I have to admit, as a student in the College of Arts and Sciences, I experienced a bit of self-intimidation coming into a Wharton class. I had little to no understanding of most of the business jargon that Wharton students can easily throw around, and I was genuinely afraid that I wouldn’t be able to continue with the interschool minor because of my lack of business knowledge. That being said, my fears couldn’t have been more unfounded. Not being in Wharton helped me get a grasp on the qualitative discipline of law, whereas those who were more math-minded needed to retrain themselves to think that way. Not that it would be incredibly difficult either way, but what I thought was a drawback was actually an advantage.
Walking into my Law and Social Values lecture on the first day of class in August, a short yet difficult question was posited to us: what is law? As everyone took a stab at it, the professor respectfully, yet bluntly implied that all of the answers weren’t comprehensive enough until we realized that law cannot be defined in a couple of sentences. From there we’ve discussed everything from contract law and corporations to crimes and torts, getting a basic understanding of legal concepts as well as how important being thorough is to the practice of law. The class wasn’t nearly as intimidating as I expected it to be and actually persuaded me to take more Legal Studies classes and most likely do the minor!