Philosophy: Student Testimonials

Ashwinder Suden

Specialist: Philosophy

 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!

Stephanie Brown

Majors: Philosophy and Political Science

What factors contributed to you choosing your program(s)?
I have been interested in politics since high school but taking my first course in Philosophy in my first year made me want to major in that as well. I felt that learning critical thinking, argumentation, and reason would also help me in law school and beyond, as those skills are transferable to just about any field of work.
Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like?
Being in a philosophy program is really great for a number of reasons. At first, class sizes are quite large and the material might be very different from your other courses, but you will find very early on that you will have plenty of opportunity to form your own opinions based on the material in class. I went to a Catholic school, so for me it was exciting to be able to critically engage with topics such as religion or morality. As you go through the upper years, the topics get more in depth and the material is sometimes quite difficult, but your classes will be smaller and you will have a lot of opportunities to discuss the material with your professor and your peers. As a result, you tend to get to know the people in your classes and make friends along the way. Majoring in Philosophy requires that you be prepared to do a lot of reading and writing. Learning to read and write philosophy articles is critical to your success in the program and courses such as Writing for Philosophy are designed to give you the skills you need to be successful in a Philosophy program.
What tips/advice can you provide to students just starting or considering this program(s)?
Tip #1 - Get to know the people in your program! The philosophy department is relatively small and you'll start to see familiar faces after taking a few classes. Your peers are a great resource to discuss ideas you might have for a paper or assignment. Plus it is really fun and interesting to get to know your fellow students and their views and opinions as well.
Tip #2 - Don't be afraid to start with the B-level philosophy courses right away! Many B level philosophy courses have no prerequisites and are accessible to students without much background in philosophy. If you ever run into trouble your TAs and your professor are always there to help.
What will you do with your degree after graduation?
I have applied to law school for the upcoming fall semester
What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?
In first year, I mainly took general courses at the A level as I was not yet completely sure what I wanted to focus on but settled on doing a double major of Political Science and Philosophy. In second year, I made more connections on campus and joined clubs on groups which led me to get to know a huge variety of people on campus. In third year, I became very involved with the philosophy department as the president of the Association of Philosophy Students. Now I am in fourth year and I am focusing on what I plan to do after I graduate.