WHY MY MAJOR MATTERS: Reader Responses

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Editor’s note: Due to the overwhelming response this series has received, we have decided to extend the submission deadline until Thursday, Sept. 27 at 3:30 p.m. Submissions should be sent via email to bl- bekas@wiu.edu.

Law Enforcement and Justice Administration

LEJA, also known as Law Enforcement and Justice Administration is an essential major that many people sign up for because they want to become today’s leaders to contribute to and aid their society. Not only aid their society to make it better, but also assist a neighborhood they might have grown up in.

For many people, it is an opportunity to help people that are victimized by crimes and evil people. As an LEJA major, not only can these majors become a police officer, but any job under the criminal justice system. Without the police or other criminal justice jobs through- out the system, society would fall to its knees. As civilized human beings, we try our best to be honest, just, trustworthy, hardworking Americans in reach of the American dream. Some people in our society tend to create an unjust living and interrupt the society with their deviant behavior.

Numerous federal laws, municipals and state laws are created to maintain a social order within our diverse world. Police officers and other law enforcement officials can- not catch every crime, but they are established to enforce those laws and protect our society.

Alongside law enforcement and many other programs within our system, we have created procedures that allow people who have been criminally convicted to be sentenced legally and serve time that allows them to think about what they have done. Several programs also allow for those criminals to be “given a second chance.” Some are offered ways that can help them “turn over a new leaf.” The criminal justice system was established to assist criminals and prevent them from being a “criminal deviant” a second time, but not everyone can be saved; some are just born into it.

—Max Molina

Law enforcement is a professional field that will forever be in existence. We live in a fast-paced, aggressive society continually in need of structure and discipline. Without law enforcement, there would be no need for laws, as they would not be upheld. Laws would simply be disregarded, and people would act upon their own impulses and judgment. Our society would be complete and utter chaos and turmoil.

The core classes required for our major not only teach us about the laws, the legal process, investigations and report writing, but also about human behavior. When we learn about human behavior, we begin to understand why people do what they do and how to deter criminal behavior.

Here at Western, we are fortunate to have professors teaching us who are either retired veterans of the field or are still active. This is unique and allows us to learn about law enforcement on a more personal level. Teachers share their personal stories with students, allowing us to learn from their mistakes and through the advice that they have. That’s something you won’t find in a textbook.

Currently, I am involved in a pro- gram with the Channahon Police Department which allows me to take the knowledge I have acquired in classes so far and apply it to the daily activities that I’m involved in at the police department.

After graduation, I plan to use my law enforcement degree to pursue a career somewhere in the narcotics division of law enforcement.

—Kelsey M. Kowalski

Education

When I first entered Western Illinois University, I had no idea what I was going to major in. I think I changed my mind about five times within the first month of school. Then it finally hit me. It was as if it had been right in front of me all along. I wanted to become a teacher. It wasn’t easy to gain support on the idea because it is such an under- paid and underappreciated job. Eventually, my family and friends warmed up to the idea.

I feel that being a teacher is going to be one of the most rewarding jobs I could have possibly chosen. Being able to impact a child’s life every day and mold the minds of the future leaders of America is amazing to me.

Every elementary education class I take here at Western makes me even more excited to have my own class- room and really influence the kids. Some may call teaching “glorified babysitting” or easy, but there is a lot of work that goes into lesson plans and all the other obstacles that come a teacher’s way.

A teacher really affects each student very powerfully. If a teacher puts them down or discourages them, they may be turned off to learning for a very long time. But, if a teacher is kind and enthusiastic, you can instill a love of learning that will last a lifetime. Every year will be a new adventure for me, and I think with a lot of love and creativity I will make a great teacher.

—Danielle Eckels

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