I wanted to understand people’s place in the world, and how we utilise language to navigate our place in the world, especially in relation to religion and faith. I was very interested in the idea of doubt, and how that affects our interactions with one another and society, especially how doubt can affect ethical questions and our decisions.
Because, for me, one of the greatest strengths of the philosophy department is how broad it is, and how many different things you can study through the different modules. You can really focus on what you want, rather than having to go through a set schema that might not be right for you.
The Department of Philosophy is one of the most approachable groups of people I’ve ever met.
It’s wonderful being able to carve out my own academic path and to have been supported in that. For instance, I’ve taken a module from the Department of Religious Studies on religion and sex, and I’m doing one on modern tragedy from Comparative Literature.
The course has made me much more aware of how I approach subjects and of how much I have to change – and how other people change – through dialogue. This is vital if you’re attempting to reach any kind of philosophical truth.
Then we have great things like the Philosophy Reading Weekend, where we stay by the coast for a few days, discuss philosophy and play Jenga. They also encourage students to give talks on topics they’re interested in. We’ve had wonderful discussions on everything from Milo Yiannopoulos to cannibalism.
There was one called 'Heidegger and Aesthetics', where I was able to write about poetry, and how we can understand poetry as a form of philosophical discourse. We studied the development of Martin Heidegger's philosophy of the 20th century through his writings on literature, and considered the moral issues that arise when studying philosophers – I mean, Heidegger was a Nazi sympathiser. So while we still read him, we have to be very careful about how we encounter him. That was a brilliant experience.
I founded the Poetry Society in my first year and acted as president until third year. As part of that, I helped to organise the Full English Festival on campus alongside the Creative Writing Society. And now I'm currently in charge of a small poetry publishing house.
I’m sending off applications for a Master’s in literature, philosophy and criticism in culture. I’d like to become a professor of philosophy or literature, promoting diversity and different ways of encountering philosophy, rather than re-reading the same dead white men.
Read widely, and read variously. And just prepare yourself to encounter something entirely different, that you’re probably not going to be prepared for – and honestly, no one else will be prepared for it either. So there’s absolutely no need to worry or stress if you feel like you’re not ready, because no one is ready