Alumni Profile: Monika Khaltsev

Alumni Profile: Monika Khaltsev

Three days before I was supposed to move from Michigan into my dorm at Harborview, a small earthquake rippled up from the D.C. area, the tremors just barely reaching New York. My mother, about to release (or unleash, depending on who you ask), her firstborn into the wild, tried to convince me to delay my move-in. With the cocky air of a teenager, I insisted on flying the coop as soon as possible, tempting fate with an obsequious, "what could happen?"  During orientation weekend in August of 2011, the entire freshman class was evacuated into the gym at Spiro Sports Center because of Hurricane Irene. And the following year, I was less afraid of Sandy than I was of answering my mother's phone calls. Imagine my relief at having a power outage as an excuse not to answer.

My four years at Wagner went by both at a snail's pace and at the speed light. Many of my happiest academic memories come from the time I spent as a student in the English department, where the subject matter spanned from the study of fairy tales, to pirates, to Victorian London, and more. I also studied international economics and French, and was frequently surprised at how interconnected they all were. A discussion of colonial literature in a Lit class helped yield useful insights in a class on international trade and historically economically underdeveloped nations, for example. I WITed, spent innumerable hours in the library, and gritted my teeth through each finals period, willing it to be over, until, suddenly, it was.

I graduated from Wagner in May of 2015. I left with an English/International Affairs (conc. Int'l Economics) major and minors in French and Comparative Literature. I went straight to the University of Michigan Law School that fall, and now, almost 4 years after my graduation from Wagner, I am working as an associate at a law firm near my home in Michigan.

One of the most important things I have learned, and continue to be reminded of, is that there is no universal timeline any of us must follow when it comes to the trajectories of our personal lives and our careers. A majority of my classmates in law school took at least two years off, but it wasn't uncommon for people to have taken 5, 10, or even 15 years off between college and law school. I learned that everyone, including the most terrifying professor at the law school, is still only human, and has stood in my shoes before. It helped me release myself from the constant anxiety of whether I was doing enough, and whether my achievements were "on time," and focus simply on what was in front of me.

And so, while at Wagner, I would urge you to take advantage of the opportunity to get an interdisciplinary education. The law has never and can never exist in a vacuum, and neither can the fields that interest you, either.

Good luck!