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Fast forward to a big future

U student's dream job would be American ambassador to Japan.

September 3, 2013

Sukanya Momsen, 20, enters the University of Minnesota Law School this fall after finishing her undergraduate degree this spring after only two years. She grew up in Golden Valley, Minnesota, and in high school took enough college-level courses that she already had junior status when she entered the U in fall 2011.

Q&A with Sukanya Momsen

What was your major?
I was an English major with an Asian Languages and Literature (Japanese) minor.

Why a major in English?
There is no set major requirement for law school, so I decided to choose the major that interested me the most. English has always been one of my favorite subjects. And I love analyzing words and writing, so it turned out to be a great fit!

What have you found most meaningful about it?
The major provided for a deep analysis of written work for every detail, from words to punctuation. This will be especially helpful to me in law school, and I am proud to have acquired a strong analysis skill.

What's your career goal?
While I am open to many possibilities in the legal field, what interests me the most is international law. I have always had a connection to Japan, and I hope that I will be able to utilize this connection in my future career. While many other things interest me, my dream job would be to become an American ambassador to Japan.

What's one challenge you've faced as a college student?
Probably the biggest challenge I faced was expenses. The stress of being tight-budgeted was high for me.

How did you meet that challenge?
By creating a budget to stick to. When I feel stressed about money, I just remind myself that I have budgeted it all out and I will be fine in the end. While I did do many internships and volunteer opportunities during my two years at the U, I also had various part-time jobs, and at least two part-time jobs at one time.

Memorable learning experiences outside of class?
I had an internship at the Japan America Society of Minnesota, which was one of the first internship experiences I had at the U. This experience was memorable, as I learned how to work independently at a nonprofit, and also learned the importance of networking. This experience has taught me the skills necessary to succeed at other internships I have participated in over the past two years.

Why the University of Minnesota?
I narrowed my choices between the U of M and Duke. While I was at first very enthusiastic about attending Duke, and the financial aid package they offered me was significant, it did not match the prices at the U. Also, Duke would not accept as many of my credits as the U, so I wouldn't have been able to graduate two years early. And I don't think I would have as many opportunities open to me now if I had gone to Duke. In the end, choosing the U was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Where do you find inspiration?
Through my futuristic goals. I realize what I want to do in life, and that inspires me to take all the necessary movements to get to where I want to be.

What's been key to your student experience?
Planning ahead. If I hadn't planned all my classes ahead of time, and made use of time management skills to get essays and reading done in a timely manner, I most likely would not have been able to take on internships, volunteer, and part-time jobs on top of school and student groups, while still maintaining a social life.

Advice for freshmen?
Make the most of your first year. It may seem like the first year isn't as serious or important as future years, but by utilizing your free time for internships or student groups, you can really make the most of your experience and time at the U.

What do you do outside of class?
I like to hang out with friends in various places around Minneapolis.

Favorite movie?
I like various movies and don't have a favorite.

Favorite book?
Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte.

Favorite spot on campus?
Lind Hall.

Funniest moment at the U?
When someone dressed up as Einstein walked into physics class near Halloween season.

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