University of Sheffield, Philosophy Personal Statement

Philosphy, University of Sheffield

Plato said that ‘wonder is very much the affection of a philosopher, for there is no other beginning of philosophy than this’ – which I believe to be very true. I think that most philosophy students would say that they had a curiosity within them to know more about the meaning of life, justice, morals, religion and so on. It is because of this curiosity, this ‘love of wisdom’, that philosophy ever came about.

After leaving college in 2013, I decided to take some time to think about what I truly wanted to do with my life. I worked full time, first in a coffee shop and then in a call centre. I found these jobs very mundane – I felt as though my life had no meaning, and throughout this time I would ask myself more philosophical questions than I ever had before. I felt as though I needed to know more, I wanted to look for answers and take in as much knowledge as I can.  

My mother started practicing yoga when I was very young, and later grew to teach a course that involved the philosophy of yoga. She would talk to me about Eastern philosophy and through this, I grew thirstier for answers and knowledge. I think that my mother’s beliefs and open mindedness helped me to discover my passion for all aspects of philosophy, and thus I decided to study it as an A Level.

In college, I studied fine art and photography, which I also used to explore and express my love for philosophy. I entered a competition with the Bluecoat gallery in Liverpool, surrounding the theme of ‘identity’. My work was selected and displayed at the gallery as apart of an exhibition surrounding this theme. At the time of the competition, I was studying the mind and the soul as a part of my philosophy A Level. I think that this really tied into my artwork and gave me an advantage over others. I was able to think about the theme ‘identity’ from a different perspective and relate it to philosophy in a unique way.

During my A Levels I have learnt many key skills, which have helped my study in philosophy. In all of the subjects, including the arts, I had to study independently and conduct a lot of personal research. In my first year of A Level philosophy I studied Plato’s debate of the mind and body – whether we have a soul – as a part of my personal investigation. Studying and researching this subject individually was very rewarding, it made me feel a close connection to Plato’s ideology. I can see many aspects of his theory of ‘the cave’ in my life and interests, for example human rights, justice, feminism, society and the government. I am able to spot the ‘shadows’ and ‘puppeteers’ that Plato describes in all of these things.

 Studying philosophy has helped me to analyse situations, it has given me a sense of logic but also broadened my mind and ideas. It’s helped me to see things from all perspectives, as we have studied theories that involve strong religious beliefs and claims, and also ideologies that completely rule out any sort of deity. Considering all of these arguments during my studies has helped me to enquire and to think critically. I learned to think with a clear, rational but open mind, which I believe is key to being able to fully embrace the study of philosophy. I am very passionate for this subject and believe that this passion would only evolve with my knowledge, or ‘wisdom’ as I study.

I hope that I can develop all of the attributes I already have through studying philosophy in university, and that I can learn, write, discover and think about as much as I can in the short life I have. As Socrates famously said, “The unexamined life is not worth living”.