Spotlight on Social Sciences Alumni: Carol Faden

Name:  Carol Faden
Occupation: Attorney
Education (UR and additional): B.A. in Linguistics, University of Rochester, 2006; Brooklyn Law School 2011, Juris Doctor
Current city/state of residence:   New York, NY

What did you do immediately after graduation? How did you decide to take that path?

For about six months after graduation I was waiting tables.  Wait, I know what you’re thinking: Why do I need to go to college to be a waitress?  You don’t.  But you do need money while you’re figuring out your career path.  When I put down my tray and apron, I was able to find a paralegal job within a week.  Within the span of eighteen months I’d gone from waitress, to paralegal, to law student

When and how did you choose your major?

When I was a freshman at UR I really wanted to go straight to law school.  I was pretty disappointed there was no prelaw major.  When I saw “Linguistics and Law,” in the course catalog, I signed up as quickly as I could.  Professor Christine Gunlogson was at the helm of the class and I was sucked right in: linguistics is really interesting!  I thought, “this will be great for my law career!”.  I took another linguistics class, and then another, and then I was totally hooked.  I declared my major shortly after the start of sophomore year and I never regretted it.

What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?

When I came to University Rochester I signed up for almost every group at the activities fair.  I ended up being involved with none of these organizations.  By the end of freshman year I had my heart set on the Drama House.  From sophomore to senior year I lived there happily:  I don’t remember exactly how I got involved with TODD Theatre, but before I knew it I was an intern for the costumes department.  To this day I make excellent costumes, and I can credit my time at good ol’ UR for that.

How do you balance your work and personal life?

I am just starting my career now, so it is difficult for me to assess my work-life balance.  The main goal, however, is to make sure I can tell the two apart.  I work to live, not the other way around.  To the extent possible I will work hard during the day, and then take back my life at night to work on what’s really important: my friends and family

Where would you like to be in five years?

Five and a half years after my graduation from University of Rochester I am exactly where I want to be.  I’ve graduated from law school and I just landed my first attorney position at a small firm in Midtown Manhattan.  I’m hoping I’ll get to put some of my linguistic insight to work as I assist with our clients’ trademarks and other intellectual property concerns.  This is where I’ve always wanted to be!

What advice do you have for current students?

My advice to current University of Rochester students is to concentrate on learning as much as possible.  I mean this as opposed to trying to get the highest possible grades.  While there is a certain extent to which your GPA is important in determining the course of your life; this is somewhat limited.  I am by no means suggesting you slack off, but what employers and schools really want to see is that you make the best of your opportunities; and that you stretch your knowledge and experience.  When it comes to interview time, it is your personality and conversation skills that will win you the job: not a digit on a paper.