What factors contributed to you choosing your program(s)?
To be honest I've been very curious about how humans interact with the world around us and Philosophy is a perfect subject of studying that through metaphysics: the study of the nature of reality around us (i.e. 'Why was the world not nothing?' or 'Problems of Self Identity' how do I know who *I* am??). Also, how humans ought to act in terms of morality also interested me greatly. For more detail come visit the Philosophy department!!
Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like?
Imagine a place where you can ask any question pertaining to the subject matter without feeling like it will hinder the class - that is Philosophy! Close friends interested in your subject, people of all years discussing deep problems within philosophy, talking to Profs who actually know your name (not to bad mouth other programs) and will help you attain your goals, that is the philosophy program! Your writing will flourish: philosophy will teach you to color your writing with beautiful expressions and elegant explanations your S.T.E.M counterparts could only dream of doing.
What tips/advice can you provide to students just starting or considering this program(s)?
Firstly, I will not lie. There is an immense amount of reading; accordingly, you will have to transform yourself into a reading machine: slicing through essays and papers, diving into the heart of every paper, and arguing against things that don't hold up to the test of logic.
Secondly, learn to be generous to people with opposing views. For example, you may not like Kant (or be like me and do!) but hang on his every word as though he was your friend; to truly fight an argument you must first understand and represent your intellectual opponents in the strongest light possible. This is, of course, to make your arguments shine even brighter.
Lastly, doubt everything. Okay maybe not everything, but a good chunk of what you know should be analyzed for any flaws. Doing a reading you seem to agree with? Find some objection, no paper is perfect. Doing a reading you seem to not agree with? Fantastic, even more reason to find an objection. Have an idea? Ask someone. Have an objection to something your prof says? Ask them in class. Always ask questions; I haven't met a philosophy professor unhappy to take a question, no matter how wacky it may be!
What will you do with your degree after graduation? (Future plans?)
Personally, I am aiming to become a Professor. This however isn't for anyone and even my future isn't set in stone. I may be a lawyer, or perhaps a business man (check how philosophy majors do in the business school entrance exam). No matter what happens in the future, I know that the analytical and comprehensive reading and writing skills developed through my program in Philosophy, will always make me a strong force to be reckoned with in any work force.
What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?
First year was not so good. A ton of reading and not understanding everything the first time. A lot of question asking. A lot of being lost. However, I got through it all. You will too. Second year is where I currently am. Much better and much more fair since you now know the rules of the game and you can adjust much better. However, this is no excuse to coast. Take charge of your education and be the best student possible!