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#HonorsProblems

#HonorsProblems: No Sleep? No Problem.

The following blog post was written by Peer Advisor Michelle, a CCAS sophomore studying political science, applied ethics, and law and society. Michelle is also on the pre-law track.

Our view, waiting overnight.

Normally, I wouldn’t advocate for students to get no sleep, but there are times in your life when pulling an all-nighter is inevitable and totally worth it. That time came for me during the spring semester of my freshman year: one of my roommates and I waited up all night in the pouring rain to see the Supreme Court Oral Argument in the case of Trump v. Hawaii, more commonly known as the Muslim Travel Ban. We arrived outside the Supreme Court at about 7pm, and after 14 (very long, very wet) hours, we finally stepped foot into the Supreme Court (#onlyatGW)!

This was my second time attending an Oral Argument at the Supreme Court, granted the first case was very low-profile and we arrived at 5am. Upon entering the building and going through security, ticket-holders have about an hour to explore before being ushered into the courtroom. For my roommate and I, this meant changing into dry clothes, trying to make it look as if we hadn’t been up all night, and getting breakfast. After locking all of our items away (no phones allowed!), we were seated. As a pre-law student, there’s nothing like having the opportunity to envision your future career while sitting in the Supreme Court, waiting to see RBG and the other eight justices.

My first trip to the Supreme Court.

Soon enough, the case began. I had assumed that the arguments would be about whether or not President Trump’s Executive Order was religiously discriminative. I was wrong. There was an entirely separate dimension concerning the Court: Did President Trump have the Constitutional authority to issue such an order?  This was an issue that I hadn’t even thought of, and it made me realize that while pre-professional advising is great, the best way to learn about a field is to observe people actually at work.

Watching a Supreme Court Oral Argument is nothing like watching a trial on Law and Order. Seeing our legal system at work was eye opening, and that’s the beauty of going to school in DC. For as long as I can remember, I knew that I wanted to be an attorney, but I had no real experience. After seeing attorneys at work in the highest court of the country, I know it’s what I want to do with my career. That’s why it’s so important to take advantage of the opportunities around you as an undergraduate – so you can start to see what your career could look like.

For you, your career goals may not dictate an all-nighter in the pouring rain outside of the Supreme Court, but use your resources at GW and in DC to find a way to gain insight into your interests. Whether that means an internship, organizing an informational interview, or going to events around the city, take the initiative to learn more about your dream job – future you will be thankful!

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