CM’s Guide to the Philosophy Major

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Despite popular belief, philosophy majors don’t sit around in togas pretending to be in Ancient Greece. Sure, they know the works of Homer (not from The Simpsons), but after four years of reading their big brains out, they’re all action. These Nietzches with smaller libidos start nonprofit companies across the globe, defend you in court and try to get your vote in the world of politics.

 What You’ll Be Doing

 You will analyze everything from “What does it mean to be a good person?” to “Why is the word ‘abbreviation’ so long?” while your peers and professors constantly question you like your parents did that one time you snuck out of the house. You’ll be reading the works of geniuses and hopefully be writing genius responses of your own. This major focuses extensively on critical thinking, reading and writing so get ready for all-nighters at the library.

 Upsides

1. “You learn how to argue persuasively, which is helpful in every career and your personal life. You really find yourself questioning yourself and all of your assumptions of the world.” – Jessica Blackband, Florida State University Class of 2015, Communications Employee for Fish and Wildlife Services

2. “I think the challenge is a unique one academically. The nature of the work is different from majors that just regurgitate it. Philosophy is based almost solely on analysis. Your exams are to critique, and they are usually essays so you can think about it.” – Dante Frisiello, University of Florida 2015, Georgetown Law School

3. “You get to tackle the most interesting and important problems in the history of thought, and you learn to do that both insightfully and rigorously. You get to wrestle with the most impressive minds in history, trying to understand why they saw things the way they did. You are subjected to challenges that will enrich you beyond anything you can imagine. You will undoubtedly emerge a different, more thoughtful, more mature person.” – Ricardo Abend Van Dalen, University of Georgia Class of 2015, Georgetown Law School

Downsides

1. “The perception of people’s perspective on your major is annoying; people view you as too abstract and impractical. I found it kind of difficult to combat the stereotype that all philosophy majors have their heads in the clouds.” – Jessica Blackband, Florida State University Class of 2015, Communications Employee for Fish and Wildlife Services

2. “You have to read some stuff that is so weird and outdated. Metaphysics is something that they pondered–like we all get that science exists, but they just explained it so oddly that it pissed me off,” – Dante Frisiello, University of Florida 2015, Georgetown Law School

3. “It can be a lonely enterprise. You will learn almost as much from arguing with your classmates as you will from your professors and your assigned readings, but you will do most of your philosophical work alone with a cup of coffee (or tea, or both) and you will feel like you’re in way over your head. You will also feel a bit isolated from and uncomprehended by other majors, who, in my experience, seldom appreciate the importance of philosophy. They will tell you that philosophy is a form of intellectual onanism at best and a useless or even harmful venture at worst. They are wrong.” – Ricardo Abend Van Dalen, University of Georgia Class of 2015, Georgetown Law School

Career Opportunities

When you told people you were considering philosophy as a major, they probably made some joke about your parents’ basement. Next time, tell them to FOH. Every field imaginable needs employees skilled in analytic writing, problem solving, decision-making and communications.

1. Lawyer

This is the big one. Philosophy is one of the top majors that law schools select because these kids’ LSAT scores are unthinkable. So if your mom cries when you tell her you’re majoring in philosophy, whip out those argument-making skills to ensure her you have a future.

2. Journalist

In journalism, communication is life. In philosophy, communication is life. It’s a match made in heaven. Philosophy  helps journalists hone their communication skills both on and off the page. Journalism isn’t a members-only club; a number of jobs are open to humanities majors like philosophy.

3. Professor

Every humanities department salivates at the thought of having a philosophy major to teach students. A philosophy major’s design, planning, research and administrative talents are secret weapons in a classroom. You can easily be that professor who has written over 9,000 books and exclusively wears suits with elbow patches.

4. Doctor

I bet you didn’t see this one coming. This is another career with a six-figure salary to tell your mother about. Hospitals can be havens for philosophy majors who are able to assess theories, uncover assumptions, suggest alternatives, speak effectively and thoroughly analyze the consequences of each action. You could very well be with the next McDreamy if you move on to med school after getting your degree.

5. Politician

Thanks, Obama! Politicians have to be able to think critically, analyze the problems in government and captivate large audiences with their ideas and voices. I’m pretty sure majoring in philosophy will make you more qualified for the White House than Waka Flocka and Donald Trump.

I am a sophomore majoring in journalism at the University of Florida. I am living every day like it's my birthday. I am the greatest writer of the 21st century so you should read all of my articles.

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