Hands down, I fully — 100% — endorse that every college bound young adult or adult consider a philosophy degree. Yes, I would have to admit that I was a bit skeptical (can you even imagine what my parents thought?!) about my job prospects as an 18 yr old in getting such a degree. But, what so many of us do not know is that philosophy is one of the only degrees that truly prepares young professionals with skills that employers value most: openness to ideas, critical thinking, impeccable writing and research skills, active listening, the list goes on and on. If anything, I hope this gives readers a different perspective into philosophy and inspires those on the fence to take the leap of faith and drag yourself out of that darn cave!
Having never read Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, etc. in my High school, it was a shock that my first college class so happened to be Philosophy 101 at 8:30 a.m. Now, we can all remember walking in to our first college class; stressed with anticipation; excited and thrilled for the change; and rushed due to a late wake up alarm and it being a Monday, I had no idea what to expect. One hour later and with Plato’s Apology as our first assignment — I. was. hooked.
From that point on, I spent most of my remaining time at Missouri State, mainly in Meyer Library, Strong Hall, and Student Government Association really delving into the subject of philosophy and exploring how theories, and intersections between law, politics, public discourse, democracy, political theory, and public affairs can be applied to our current world affairs. My professors demanded an openness to all ideas, even as I tested my professor’s last nerve in Philosophy of Religion, and found darkness in Existentialism. In today’s professional world, an openness to all ideas is valued, and something we can all learn, if we took a Philosophy 101 class.
Critical thinking is a skill that you cannot simply ‘learn on the job’. Critical thinking is about understanding a position, while making critical observations and judgements about that position in order to better and more affectively understand or even reach a goal. As a grant maker, critical thinking comes in many different forms but fundamentally comes during the designing, implementing, and managing of programs and goals that fit the needs of the communities we serve, while finding and working with talent to best reach those goals. During this time, there is a myriad of conversations happening, changes being made to strategy, shifting opinions and views, comments, and additions – all of my work could not be done without keen critical thinking skills. Many of us in multiple sectors can relate to this flow of work, and understand how valuable it is to have team members with deep critical thinking skills.
Much of who I am as a professional today was shaped by my philosophy professors and in the pages of literary greats. It was an honor to be spotlighted by my alma mater Missouri State University for my work and its ties to my philosophy degree. Everyday, I feel an immense amount of privilege having had the opportunity to do so.