Friday, June 1, 2012

To Be or Not to Be...a Philosophy Major!

At Carolina, our students are immersed in a liberal arts and science curriculum and select from 70 different majors. Our interdisciplinary curriculum is designed to foster curiosity, communication, and critical thinking so that students can thrive in an increasingly interconnected world, while also becoming grounded in their selected area(s) of emphasis.

Today, we're featuring Maggie Clark, an philosophy major and rising junior from Oxford, NC, as she shares her experiences in our Department of Philosophy. You can learn more about the Department online and/or follow them on Twitter at @UNCPhilOutreach. Jen Kling, Philosophy graduate student and Outreach Coordinator is also available to answer your questions here on the blog.

Why did you decide to study philosophy?
I decided to study philosophy because it’s not just a subject, it’s a way of thinking. Philosophy helps develop a skill set of critical thinking and analysis that can be applied to most aspects of life. You learn to think about things and look at things in a different way, and I think that’s cool.

What are the three best things about studying philosophy at UNC?
It’s hard to limit myself to only three things, but I guess I’d have to say that the faculty in the department are incredibly supportive and are not just professors but mentors. Secondly, between the faculty and the philosophy grad students there is always someone around who is willing to help explain something you don’t understand or just talk about philosophy. I also like that the work load in most of the classes is not too extreme; there’s a lot of reading but never more than you can handle.

Is there a disadvantage to studying philosophy?
One disadvantage is that it’s easy to get caught up in the philosophic discourse and forget to pull back and see how what you study applies and relates to the real world.

If there was one thing you could tell non-philosophy majors, what would it be?
Give philosophy a chance and try to come to the table without any preconceptions. We don’t all sit around at a cafĂ© drinking coffee and discussing the meaning of life!

Any advice for incoming first-year students?
Philosophy is really easy to get into if it’s something you’re looking to try out; you don’t necessarily have to begin with the 101 course. See which of the 100 level courses strikes your fancy and try it; it might be for you!