At Emory, Matthew Spritz (05C) lost the election for Student Government Association (SGA) president, but that didn’t stunt his love for politics.
Now Spritz is back on the ballot. After he ran several local campaigns and worked as a legislative aid in the state capitol in Tallahassee, Fla., Spritz is currently running for Florida State Representative for District 89. He graduated from Emory with a double major in political science and history and received a law degree from New York University (NYU) in 2008. After law school he practiced law in New York City for a few years, then moved back to his home in South Florida and opened his own law and consulting firm.
With the primaries in August 2018 and the general election in November 2018, Spritz took time out of his campaign schedule to talk with The Emory Wheel about his Emory career and beyond.
This transcript has been edited for clarity.
I’m a big believer that if you’re at a four-year institution like Emory, take advantage of the world-class facility and the resources. College is a chance for you to learn about a lot of different subjects in a way that really helps you to think critically about the world around you.
And have fun; make friends. You’re going to meet people that you’re going to be friends with for the rest of your life.
Too many people get caught up in “Well, I have to study this because then I want to do that and then that’s going to lead to this,” [but] life is all over the place. Very rarely do you go in a straight line, and I’m certainly a testament to that. You sort of wobble left and right and you figure it out as you go through, so don’t limit yourself.
Just have fun and study what you like. Obviously I’m not preaching to take college lightly and not study anything. I worked extremely hard in college, but I was studying something that I really enjoyed and I was able to excel and I think that’s the lesson. If you do what you love and you’re passionate about it, you’re going to give [your work] your all, and you’re going to succeed. College is for studying subjects you enjoy, especially since you only get to do it once in your life. Worry about the “real world” in graduate school.
If I had it to do over again, I might consider taking a year or two off [before law school]. I may have deferred a year to gain a little bit more perspective. After seven years of school, there was certainly a fatigue, but I had a great experience at NYU as well. I was 22 years old, and I was in law school. Living in New York was a fun experience. I learned a lot and it certainly benefited me, opened some amazing doors and still opens doors.
Sometimes it’s hard when you come in contact with a lot of different kinds of people and you’re trained in a way to accept authority and people that are older and supposed to be wise, [but] don’t just accept what people say at face value.
You have to evaluate every situation — every person that you meet — through the prism of your own values and your own training. You have to have faith in yourself that even though you’re right out of school that generally your moral compass is correct and don’t ever question that.
Always have faith in yourself. Believe that you have the character and the strength to persevere [through] whatever life adversity might be thrown at you.
I knew then that government and policy and service [were] always my passion[s], and it’s really awesome to be coming back to that in the real world. I feel like now, for the first time in my life, I’m doing what I love. I’m doing what I feel I was born to do. I want to serve, and I care deeply about my community.