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Hevani Fifita PHL ‘19
BA in Philosophy
What are the unexpected benefits of your degree and what value do you see in it?
An unexpected benefit of my degree is that many people from different professional areas see the value in my degree and associate many positive attributes with my degree. My degree has been extremely versatile which is something I did not expect going into it. This doubt mostly had to do with the fact that there is always this bias that those who don’t go into math or science related paths aren’t as successful.
What career have you pursued or hope to pursue and what are you currently doing?
I hope to become a lawyer (I’m sure you hear this a lot from Philosophy majors) but I’m pretty open to anything. It may be that I fall into something I really like and that’s totally okay with me. Right now, I’m working as a Student Ambassador for the College of Liberal Arts and that has been teaching me a lot.
How has your degree in Philosophy impacted you?
Being a woman of color in Philosophy has been hard given it’s mostly white men in the program. Getting a degree in something that usually excludes the voices of people who look like me has pushed me to challenge myself in a lot of ways. I’ve had to gain a lot of confidence in my words, writing, and voice. But most importantly, I’ve learned how to utilize my experiences as a woman of color in conjunction with the philosophical tools I’ve learned at Oregon State.
What are the most important aspects of the degree or what skills did you gain from obtaining the degree?
The biggest skill I’ve learned by being a Philosophy major is how to think critically and communicate that through verbal and written form. Having the ability to be aware of all the systems that affect me and communicate that information clearly is something I’ve been able to utilize in all areas of my life. Professionally it has been very useful but as an advocate for myself and other marginalized communities, it’s even more important because I can critically analyze systems of oppression that affect me and the communities I care about.
How has your degree helped you see/interpret the world?
My degree has helped me to see the world as a big place with a lot of essential, working parts. People are very complex. The world is very complex. My degree has really pushed me to take a closer look at people, places, organisms, etc. It’s helped me to slow down and pay attention to very specific aspects of life and how we choose to live it.
What would you advise other students who might be considering a major in Philosophy?
Do it!!! There are so many things to learn and develop as a Philosophy major. There’s also a lot of work to be done. Because there are so many things happening in the world right now, the world can benefit from more philosophical thinkers. Use your time now to explore your options and yourself. There is something for everyone in Philosophy, you’ve just got to find it.