Opening doors

James Moran, criminal justice and sociology major

Conway, South Carolina, native James Moran majored in criminal justice and sociology and minored in political science. He has been involved in student government since freshman year and envisions a career in government. “I hope to get my law degree and be a U.S. government attorney or a prosecutor and hopefully work in criminal law,” he says. “After that, I hope to work for the FBI as a special agent.”

When I was researching colleges, I knew I wanted to study criminal justice. I knew I was going to be a Palmetto Fellow. Between the program here for criminal justice and the Palmetto Fellows scholarship, it was a no-brainer for me.

My mother got her master’s in education here. I always loved coming to Columbia. Conway’s not a very big place, so coming to Columbia was always fun for me when I was younger — coming to the big city. I fell in love with it as a kid.

I originally was going to live with one of my closest friends from high school, but at the last minute he changed his mind and went to Clemson. Go figure. I said, ‘I’m not going to let this stop me.’ I just put in for whoever, and I said, ‘That’s what college is all about, meeting new people.’ My three random roommates, we got along great. We’ve been together all four years, and we’re very close friends.

On move-in day I was so nervous walking to my dorm with my parents. 'Who am I going to meet?' I walked into my dorm, and I actually was the first person there. All those nerves for nothing. I had heard from friends that a great way to meet people was to prop your door open. I propped open the door to the hallway, and I played music while I was setting things up. One by one, people were walking by. I said, 'Hey,' they said 'Hey.' Some of the people I met that day are still my friends.

I remember distinctly our first home football game. Before the players ran out of the tunnel, I was looking at the student section, '2001' started playing. I was with my roommates. I just knew this was the place for me. That was a very special moment.

One of my favorite professors is Leslie Wiser. He’s a retired FBI special agent. I remember not only the classes being interesting but just the personal life experience. He’s also the internship coordinator in the criminal justice department, so later on in my college career, when I applied to and was selected to be an FBI intern, he guided me through that process.

If you think you have talked to a lot of people, talk to more. Introduce yourself to everyone. You never know who you’ll be friends with. Go do something you’ve never done.

Share this Story! Let friends in your social network know what you are reading about