Choosing what to do with your life is obviously no easy task and choosing a degree to get you there is even harder. Knowing if you’re going to like the program ahead of time is next to impossible. Everything about university seems to be one giant leap of faith and a little bit risky but the benefit about such a versatile place like Kent is that you always have the proper resources to guide you along the way.
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a philosophy student then you’re not alone. I had no idea what I was getting into when I chose this particular academic path, but I’ve found such a comfortable rhythm now that I can’t imagine my life any other way. If you’re considering coming to this campus for the philosophy department then here is a little taste of what you’re in for. These are the basics of a normal day for me as a philosophy major.
9am classes are hard, especially for a philosophy student who has spent the previous night faithfully questioning their own existence until the wee hours of the morning – but we endure. I always start my morning with a coffee. Perhaps I might manage to drag myself from my bed in time to stop by Essentials before class to grab a snack (convenience is key). I like to get to class at least five minutes before the assigned start time because I want to get a good seat that isn’t too forward, but is still within excellent perceptive range of that one person who always seems to know what they’re talking about (maybe a little too much so).
Philosophy lectures usually stay around two hours long so it isn’t an outrageous strain on my attention span, and I find the professors here to be very captivating and accommodating since most provide students with a humble five minute break halfway through the lecture. I usually run to the nearest cafe for another coffee to sustain me for the rest of the morning.
Some days I only have lectures, other days only seminars, and sometimes a mixture of both. I always have a well timed break in between all my classes that give me enough time to beeline my way to a food source. I love to round off the academic side of my day with a philosophy seminar. This is the setting where all of our weird unanswered questions can be sorted through with the close guidance of a professor or teaching assistant.
I usually leave my lectures with some sense of unfinished business that I can address in the corresponding seminar. This is such a key aspect of being a student in this major. Philosophy is a very independent style of learning with very few contact hours a week but with a lot of reading to be done. Using seminars wisely is imperative to knowing what’s going on in class.
After all my classes are done for the day, I head home for much needed social time where I can vent to my roommates about the trials and tribulations of philosophical debate which, thankfully, they all listen to attentively without judgement.
After philosophically analysing problems in feminist philosophy over a home cooked dinner, I retreat to my room to attempt to read the mountains of articles and scholarly resources in order to grasp the concepts for the next day’s lecture. The readings are usually interesting enough to keep me preoccupied for hours, and I’d happily stay in this academic mindset for days on end.
When I come across concepts I don’t understand, or questions for assignments, I promptly send emails to my professors who are always quick and eager to help. Although this particular degree consists of mostly independent work I always feel supported by the department, the teaching assistants, and my fellow student philosophers. I attend philosophy society meetings regularly to keep on top of contemporary opinions from people my age, over a few beers at Kbar, and it’s easy to engage with peer reading groups to motivate me to keep on top of my material.
My life as a student philosopher is leisurely but fulfilling and I wouldn’t have it any other way.