How can I know what interests me?
Recently, I volunteered to be a student mentor to four first-year Philosophy students. A common confusion among my group of mentees was choosing modules, so I’ve devised some key points to consider when thinking about choosing which modules to take. One thing I’ve noticed in particular, is that it can be quite difficult to decide what exactly it is that you’re interested in when you have no primary knowledge of a subject. For example, I did not take Philosophy as an A-Level, so the first year of my course was for me, just exploring what I liked about my course, as I had no real primary experience of the subject at hand.
I think that it’s a particularly great idea to take modules that might not sound like something you would usually study, because it’s always good to get out of your comfort zone. This year, I’m taking some challenging modules like Metaphysics (yikes), which initially seemed too difficult for me to learn, but by pushing myself to try it out, I’ve began to find it surprisingly enjoyable as the weeks have progressed.
Another thing to note is that nothing is set in stone until further along into the term, so the deadlines for finalising modules is often extended for freshers, meaning you have some time to try out all the options to see which ones are right for you. It can be difficult deciding, but with some strategic planning and research, it isn’t as hard as you’d think. Usually, it just takes the initial brainstorm to kickstart ideas, and talking to people who have done the module before is also very beneficial. Not only can they give advice about how to tackle the difficulties, but they might also be of assistance when you’re writing your essays, as they might let you read over their old work, or check over yours.
So, have an open mind when thinking about what you’d like to study in the year ahead. Don’t limit yourself to what you think you might like, and choose something different! You might just learn to love it. As a third-year student, choosing an array of modules in my first and second year has meant that I know exactly the types of Philosophy are of personal interest to me, for example I prefer traditional philosophy as opposed to contemporary philosophy, and political philosophy as opposed to ethical philosophy. So, my advice is to go out there and have fun learning everything there is to know about your subject, don’t limit yourself!