A Day in the Life of a Criminal Justice Student


-With Alexandra Cotton

The Criminal Justice program at KU presents the major components of the American criminal justice system. They include: legal principles, criminal behavior patterns, law enforcement organizations, juvenile systems, and doctrines/fundamentals of criminal investigations. I caught up with Alexandra Cotton, who is a KU student at the Jacksonville campus, in the Criminal Justice program, and asked her a few questions about what it’s like to be a Criminal Justice major.

What made you decide to enter the field of Criminal Justice?

Honestly my decision to enter the field of Criminal Justice was an organic one.  Translating my love of service from the military to civilian life was fluid.

Are there any skills or techniques you’ve learned in the Navy that will help you in the Criminal Justice field? What are they?

I spent six and a half years in the Navy as a Seabee, doing construction for Special Forces.  All of my military training gave me skills I can utilize, especially being aware of my surroundings, having a serviceable weapon at all times, showing up 15 minutes early to the 15 minutes early, and paying attention to detail.  However, both the criminal justice program and eventually homeland security will broaden my horizons with more details and facts than I previously had in my skill set.

What are some of your favorite classes so far? Your least?

This question is dangerous!  All of my criminal justice classes are excellent and the professors, intelligent.  From what I remembered during high school, my least favorite was always math.  After years of doing construction, math became tolerable.  Now in college, math is easy for me—but boring.

Every student battles procrastination from time to time. How do you stay motivated and fight through those rough times?

Oh, procrastination is rough.  The longer I’m in college, the more I appreciate my GPA and don’t want to see it fall so I normally turn on my favorite music, shut out the world, and tackle, however reluctantly, my homework.

What are you looking forward to in your upcoming classes?

I’m looking forward to my next degree, a BA in Homeland Security, which will be offered on campus next year.

What are you professional plans after graduation?

My professional plans after graduation are to join the Department of Homeland Security, preferably I.C.E.  My top-tier goal is to join Interpol (International Police).

Is there any advice you would like to share with you fellow Criminal Justice students?

The only advice I can impart comes in the form of paraphrased words from a Navy Admiral:  Make your bed every morning.  That way every day you have completed one task. No matter how crappy your day was, you completed something. His words resonated with me and are a reminder every day to me that some things start and end with you and only you.

Thank you so much Alexandra for participating in this interview with me. It was an honor to speak with you, and getting to know you as well as the Criminal Justice program. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

As always, feel free to email me with your comments, questions, concerns, and suggestions!

Your fellow KU student,