Part One: Studying Philosophy online
I wanted to make this block just to share with you how I’m finding this year so far. We are currently one month into online learning and things are a little strange for sure but I have a positive outlook. I’m going to break down various aspects of what it’s like to study philosophy online and also some things I’m grateful for about returning to campus.
Lectures- I find for philosophy lectures are crucial in giving me a wide breadth of information and without them I’d find it difficult to understand the reading. Therefore, when they went online, I was very worried about whether the quality would still be there. I’ve found though that I actually love them! The lecturers have split them into smaller, more manageable chunks which really helps you to focus despite being at home. The ability to rewind and replay something is also unbelievably helpful because if we’re doing something very complex, I don’t miss it and fall behind which I found to be the case in some lectures last year. Being able to put my headphones in and completely tune out my background I think helps to make them more immersive and funnels my concentration in a way I couldn’t in a crowded lecture hall.
Seminars- I have a mix of online and in person seminars so I will have to split these up. I’ve found in person seminars to bring a welcome sense of normality which I really need in my week. Philosophy is definitely an orator subject and needs to be discussed so it’s really good to have that face to face contact. It’s really nice to see some familiar faces who I’ve missed over quarantine and get to see my tutors because the department is so friendly and I’d hate to miss out on that atmosphere.
Online seminars are fairly different but I’m grateful that with the use of breakout rooms we can still have group discussions. Admittedly participation is not as high as in normal seminars and I’m hoping as the weeks go on people get used to this new way of doing things and engage a little more. However, I’m still grasping the content well and it’s still a good way of hearing from people.
Campus- I’d just like to take a moment to appreciate how beautiful campus looks at the moment. The trees are exploding with autumnal reds, oranges and yellows it’s delightful. Controversial opinion but I’ve missed the geese! It was so nice to walk past Zeeman and see them all sat right where I left them, accompanied by their heron friend.
So, to conclude if you’re thinking about studying philosophy at University and you’re unsure about the current situation please don’t let it put you off. I know it’s a very personal subject which requires lively debate and great focus but with the way things are currently I don’t feel like I’ve had to sacrifice these too much. I’m so happy to be back at University and I hope others are also thriving even in these strange times.