Pre-Law to Pre-Social Work: And You Can Too!

March 9, 2023

When I came to Cal, I came super *super* passionate about being a lawyer. Like, Pre-Law was all I could think about. I joined all the pre-law clubs, all my friends were pre-law, and I was really excited about going to law school. Then… I saw the costs, the practice LSATs, and got a little scared, in all honesty! However, I persevered and thought maybe, I could still go to law school. I became very interested in family law and education law. I was curious how the two intersected so, I visited the UC Berkeley Career Center (like any other curious undergraduate would). 

After speaking with one of the career counselors, they actually pointed me into to a field I never though of before… social work. This was something new to me and made me really question my life choices. Was I meant to be a social worker? Am I passionate enough to be a social worker? I made an appointment with a College Advisor (shoutout Brandi in the L&S Advising Office) to talk more about my discovery. I was pointed into the direction of the School of Social Welfare and their undergraduate courses. I was staying for the summer anyways, so, why not sign up for a Social Welfare course? 

I signed up for Social Welfare 125 and 116 in Summer 2022. Those courses were groundbreaking and changed how I viewed so many things. I learned about the intersections between sports, social work, and creative effective solutions to end carcerality in K12 education. These are topics I never thought I would be able to explore or that I would be interested in. I also made connections with some amazing graduate students and faculty who are now lifelong mentors to me. With that, I decided that I was no longer pre-law, I was pre-social work!

What was the point of this long anecdote, you may wondering? The point is that being a Berkeley student will expose to many different subjects during your time here. You will get a very interdisciplinary education and allow yourself to be immersed in multiple different academic communities. This may push you to question if your plans are still right for you. Are you on the right path? Is the field you’re coming in with still what’s going to help you professionally and personally as a student? These are valid questions to ask yourself and it’s okay to explore this curiosity. That’s the beauty of being a Cal student, letting yourself discover the change you want to make.

If there’s anything you can take away from this, be curious. Explore the academics around you. Ask questions. Love every minute of it. You will find your true passion, and it will set you for life. It’s okay to switch your path and start anew. We all do! I believe you will find your path, and it will be worthwhile. For now, dream big and be the change you want to be in this world.