Pre-Law Program at Miami University
[More People in the Spotlight.]
Eric was interviewed by former Director of Miami's Pre-Law Program, Yvette Simpson, on April 23, 2009.
See Eric's 2010 spotlight where he was attending Indiana University's Maurer School of Law.
YS: What is your name?
EC: My name is Eric Cook and I am senior, majoring in Psychology and Philosophy.
YS: Do you have any minors?
EC: I am a Business Legal Studies minor.
YS:What law school are you planning to attend this fall?
EC: I plan on attending Indiana University-Bloomington.
YS: What has been your most memorable experience here at Miami?
EC: This past winter break I attended a leadership experience here at Miami. It was part community service and part Miami experience. I got to visit Washington DC for the Black Leadership Conference so it was really interesting.
I also enjoyed spending late nights with the members of my organization in study tables. There is nothing like sitting across from both graduate and undergraduate men of color trying to do something important with their lives.
As a Psychology major, I couldn't always see where the law related to my studies, but it does. I was really able to see how the study of psychology and the human condition is so vital to the law.
YS: What activities have you participated in that you found particularly interesting?
EC: I have participated in two of Miami's Psychology labs, research has been interesting because it was just for fun, and not for a class. I liked participating in the labs and learning how the research related to me. My experience in the labs has been fun because I am doing research in areas that are very interesting to me. I have always been intrigued by the things that come about when humans interact, and participating in the labs has allowed me to see this first hand.
I also enjoyed serving as the President of Brothers Supporting Brothers and the founder of the new organization, particularly having the opportunity to rework the constitution and understanding how long it took to write it. I felt like I had to sit back this whole year and see how the guys were getting along here at Miami; I then had to customize the constitution to fit the atmosphere here on campus.
Organizations on other campuses were very different in structure and appearance than it was on our campus. It has been such a fulfilling experience to see men of color come together for study tables, social events, and open dialogues about how we are dealing with circumstances on Miami's campus and in life. This has helped me figure out what I want to do in the law.
YS: What is the name of the new organization?
EC: Gentleman of Distinguished Character.
YS: Who have been your mentors here at Miami?
EC: Todd Bailey, Kurt Hugenberg, Heather Claypool in the Psychology department, and my Undergraduate Summer Scholars [USS] advisor Alana Van Gundy-Yoder have been really great mentors. My USS advisor helped me find research opportunities that I didn't know existed.
My greatest obstacle has been trying to balance academics and participate in activities ... It has been hard trying to balance what I can do and what I can't do.
YS: What has been your greatest obstacle here at Miami?
EC: My greatest obstacle has been trying to balance academics and participate in activities. I came here after living at home for my first semester while attending Miami-Hamilton and had to keep my mind on grades. I came in here full throttle and I had that tendency to want to help people in the same situation as me and be involved. I found myself doing more of that now than when I started. It has been hard trying to balance what I can do and what I can't do.
YS: What has been your greatest accomplishment?
EC: It would have to be getting into law school with a scholarship. I have been able to step back and breathe and realize that after four years of preparation I got what I wanted. I came to Miami knowing that I would work as hard as possible to obtain a law degree with the least amount of financial contribution on my part. I knew that I could only get a scholarship if I earned good grades and was a well-rounded student.
YS: When did you first decide to pursue a career in law?
EC: My interest in law school has stemmed from my parents; they have been telling me that I would become a lawyer forever. In the ninth grade, I interned with an attorney; after that, I knew I wanted to be an attorney, but I didn't know why until my first year here. I started to evaluate why I wanted to be an attorney. I began reading books to see what I could do with a law degree and I knew at that point I wanted a law degree and I wanted to spend my life practicing law.
YS: What are you most anticipating about law school?
EC: I guess it is finally getting to see all the things I have been hearing about law school. I have heard how hard and crazy law school is and I want to actually see what it is going to be like. I am nervous about it but I am anticipating sitting back and learning all these things about the law.
I would tell [underclassmen] to choose a major that they are interested in. By choosing their own major they learn a little more about themselves and how to make their own choices. During the preparation process, don't try and skip over stuff in preparation for law school.
YS: What advice would you give to underclassmen who are considering law school?
EC: I would tell them to choose a major that they are interested in. By choosing their own major they learn a little more about themselves and how to make their own choices. During the preparation process, don't try and skip over stuff in preparation for law school. Make sure to take the Kaplan class.
YS: You have had some contact with the Pre-Law Program office. What did you find most helpful?
EC: Mainly the programming helped keep me on task. I had a previous experience with law school preparation but the office was there for the little things — in my junior year I began to hear things that would have been helpful before, like financial aid. But I got to meet attorneys on the panels and they answered my questions. The writing programs also really helped me. Overall it helped me figure out a lot of things that I should do throughout the whole process.
YS: Do you have any suggestions to improve the Pre-Law Program?
EC: I don't know how we could get the word out to other people, but I guess some people choose not to come or wait until it is too late. I know a lot of people who have never come and have paid the price for it.