Payton Fey is a senior criminal justice major and psychology minor from Westlake Village, California. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school with the goal of someday working for the FBI.
How did you choose your major?
When I was a freshman at the University, I did not know what I wanted to major in and felt lost trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I took a lot of classes and changed my major twice before I discovered my passion for criminal justice.
In my Intro to Criminal Justice class, I felt really engaged in the material and was excited to attend class and found myself retaining more information from my lectures because it was something I felt passionate about and interested in. That first class sparked my interest in the CJ field and I found myself looking for more and more classes to take until I decided to make it my major.
What do you like about studying your major at UA?
I love studying criminal justice because it is such a broad topic that has many interesting facets. Each semester I am learning about new topics within the CJ field, and I am able to explore relevant real-world problems that my future career aims to solve. Another aspect of my major that I like is the wide variety of CJ classes that UA offers, such as Homicide, Human Trafficking, and Terrorism, just to name a few of my favorites.
What are your career goals?
I am graduating this spring from UA, and after I graduate I want to continue my education by getting a master’s degree in criminal justice. I am not sure exactly what I want to do with my career but my goal is to work for the FBI one day.
Talk about any career-related experiences you’ve had. How did you find these opportunities?
I was part of the Student Recruitment Team for UA, where I had the privilege of meeting with prospective students and their families as well as working with the athletic department. I also worked with the Bama by Distance office and I found these opportunities by searching UA’s student jobs website for a position that worked for me.
Additionally, I have visited the Career Center on campus several times to explore different career paths, search for job opportunities, and sharpen my interviewing skills through mock interviews.
What surprised you the most about college?
I am surprised about how much I have grown in the last four years and how much support I have received while attending Alabama. The genuine interest and enthusiasm my professors and advisors have given me really surprised me at first. Before attending the University, I always thought of college as a big, scary step into adulthood where I would have to figure everything out on my own, but that has not been the case at all.
How did you make friends and find community on campus?
I felt really pressured to make friends right away my first semester as a freshman, but I now realize that is not the case for everyone, including myself. I think I am still making friends even as a second-semester senior, and I think it is so important to keep an open mind. I went to a lot of events on campus and joined student organizations to find my community here at the University, and in order to do that, I had to put myself out there and talk to other people. I made friends in places I didn’t expect to meet people like in my classes and random interactions with people who lived in the same building as me. Once I realized that everyone around me was also trying to make friends, it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be, and meeting new people became a lot easier.
What advice would you give to incoming students?
There are so many resources that the University offers, so make sure to use them! Your professors are here to help you and they are a great resource for learning about your career field, and you can learn a lot through their experiences. It is okay to not know exactly what you want to do and to take your time to figure it out, I know I did!