A few weeks ago while I was doing some work for a class I am taking, Philosophy of Religion, it occurred to me how much time I have spent over the last few years thinking about philosophical topics and how many philosophy courses I have actually taken. I have taken six philosophy classes; some fulfilling ELA and Environmental Studies requirements and some as electives. When I put it all together I realized that I am only two credits away from receiving a minor in Philosophy (an eighteen-credit requirement). How frustrating! I really wish that I would have realized this last semester so as to have signed up for an extra philosophy class and received official credit for the work in philosophy that I have done. However, after talking with my advisor, there is still a possibility that I could achieve this; most likely by petitioning another class that I have taken to count as a Philosophy elective, so we’ll see how that goes!
Now, a word about Philosophy: Before college, I would never have really considered taking many philosophy classes; metaphorical and abstract thinking were not really including in my list of academic strengths, however I was required to take one for my major and thus completed my first class is philosophy, Environmental Ethics, during my freshmen year. This class introduced many contemporary environmental issues and analyzed the morality of such issues and the view points of many modern and not-so-modern philosophers. Most importantly, this class made me realize that philosophy is something that I can handle and enjoy. After this I found myself opting into more philosophy classes as they fulfilled certain requirements and as electives.
There are a number of reasons why I have been drawn to philosophy classes. First, because I did not previously consider myself good at such a subject, I went into every class expecting the material and work to be difficult, so I really pushed myself in these classes. I would study the material until I really understood it; not just memorizing information. I also tried to apply many of the concepts we learned to real life situations (which is a very fun and useful thing to do). Additionally, exploring the ideas of other philosophers, from history and the present, is very useful to expanding how you think and what you think about. Studying different philosophies has really helped me to be able to understand a thought process and subsequent conclusions that are different from my own, without changing my own opinions. Studying philosophy also provokes you to question. Question everything; question conclusions, ideas, arguments, and especially your own thoughts, ideas, and actions.
While there is an incredible amount of useful information presented in the philosophy classes here, one of the most valuable things that I have gained from taking these classes is a different way of looking and thinking about things. Before college I may have been lacking in the ability to think about things abstractly, however, now I may even consider it one of my strengths.
Not to mention we have some really fantastic and passionate Philosophy professors here : )