BA Philosophy graduate Lorcan Allerton tells us about his time studying at the University of Birmingham.
Hi, my name is Lorcan and I have just completed my Philosophy degree at the University of Birmingham. I have finished my time at Birmingham with a first-class degree so now I am going back home to London in hopes of getting a job!
The best way I think to choose your university is to; look at the entire course, the first year accommodation, the campus, the closest city and finally something important to you. Philosophy at Birmingham was quite distinctive when compared to other philosophy courses. It has a much newer syllabus with more women on the reading list and focusing on much more current questions and issues. The first year accommodation was an instant attraction- the Vale is such a unique place to spend first year and really encourages socialising which can be difficult at the very beginning. The campus is a really nice working environment and it was encouraging to see the PTR building because not every university has a place for Philosophy students to call their own. Birmingham as a city was also really attractive to me; being from London means that I can go back home without breaking the bank on train tickets. Finally, I am a really sociable person who loves to go out and that is something that Birmingham caters for very well. Whether it is a Fab night out in the guild or going to the pub in town I have never been let down.
My favourite module has been Fantastic Beasts, it is a module about the philosophy of biology. It was an intersection of science and philosophy that I had never even considered before doing the module but I found a real interest in the content. It is taught by two lecturers and both of them are really engaging and friendly when I would go to their office hours twice a week to work on my essay idea. It helps that I got an 82 in that essay as well.
In A level essays the word “I” is forbidden but that couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to university philosophy essays. Your essays aren’t just about demonstrating your understanding of a concept but demonstrating your analytical skills which is a skill that you don’t have to demonstrate as much at A level.
Pushing my analysis in my essays to a first class level has been the hardest thing to achieve. Making the most out of office hours was the key to my success in essay writing. Nothing is more helpful in my opinion than sitting down with a lecturer and discussing your argument. They know this content like the back of their hand so their input is invaluable when planning your argument.
I have had some really memorable seminars. It helps to discuss the content as a group but seminars, when the topic of discussion is controversial, can be really entertaining. Tearing apart a topic and listening to everyone’s arguments is what philosophy is about and it is the best use of it.
My dissertation was, “Is Carole Pateman right to think that sex work subordinates women?” I researched feminist arguments against sex work being considered a legitimate labour and ultimately defended sex work as a labour contract that is no more problematic than any other embodied labour contract.
I don’t have any career set plan. I have done an internship in digital media marketing in central London but after completing two months I realised that I don’t have any passion for social media marketing. However, the contacts through that internship have been really valuable so I hope to go into the fashion industry, in what position I am as of yet unsure.
The Philosophy society has been the only society I have attended. I really enjoyed it because it was a really comfortable way for me to meet other people on my course. We had bi-weekly think-and-drinks which were essentially seminars in a pub!
The lecturers have made my time in Birmingham such a positive experience. Being a student ambassador has meant I get a lot more time with them on open days and they have all been so friendly. I’ve mentioned that I used office hours a lot and that was essentially due to the fact that I enjoyed seeing my lecturers and discussing my plans for an essay.