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Life of a Philosophy Student

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Anyone thinking of taking something other than a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subject with a more of an academic than vocational background will face this question plenty of times over their university life:

“What are you going to do with that?”
 *Sigh* “Well I’m not quite sure yet, but I know that the opportunities are abundant!”

This post is aimed at two things. Firstly, to show you a snapshot of life in Philosophy and secondly to show those thinking of choosing a subject like it, that you can get any job you want if you put your mind to it.

  • Studying Philosophy, like History or English, involves a lot of outside reading. Focusing on ancient text and trying to wrap your head around the smartest ideas in human history can be challenging, but also incredibly rewarding. If you can tackle Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason you can tackle anything your new boss can throw at you. Interpreting data, extrapolating the key information and using it to reach a conclusion is common in philosophy, as it is in many other tasks.
  • Creating a debate with ideas or information is the staple of Philosophy. Reasoning accurately and in detail to solve complex problems or find flaws with an argument is critical. Jobs in many sectors including business, finance, journalism, media and PR to name but a few, can all benefit from these analytic skills.
  • Everybody at university can say they have to work to deadlines; limited amounts of contact hours with lecturers in Philosophy however, means that students have to be much more independent than other subjects. This is an excellent way to showcase dedication, hard work, focus and independent ability.
  • Of course I’m not naive enough to think that you can simply walk into any job with just your freshly printed degree in hand and secure the top spot. You need plenty of experience in the field that you are interested in going into. This is critical to any academic subject without a vocational focus and again why Philosophy benefits students. Lack of contact hours leaves plenty of time for students to gain placements or work experience in their chosen fields. Studying both a degree and working in the real world will prepare you much more than your degree alone will. This is the beauty of Philosophy, if you treat it right it can be like studying Medicine or Dentistry; you gain a degree and on the job training.

There you go, a critical (albeit brief) guide to the life of a Philosophy student at Newcastle Uni. If you’re still wavering on what degree to choose just remember to do something you’re passionate about and interested in. Everything else comes later!

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