BA Philosophy - Danielle Wing
Years at UEA
Danielle Wing studied BA Philosophy at UEA and now works as Project Support for London’s Air Ambulance Charity.
While at UEA, she was very involved with the student community, taking part in many societies and clubs. She counts her experience in the pole fitness club to be among the best times of her life!
What was it that drew you to UEA originally?
It offered everything in one place, you have everything you’ll ever need on campus but you’re still near to the city centre.
So, you really have the best of both worlds. And, for me, the distance from home was just about right. Not too far away from home, but also not too close - a good distance.
Why did you choose to study Philosophy?
The course had a really interesting variation of modules, in comparison to some of the other universities.
The fact that you could touch on so many different things across the three years, the course fulfilled what I hoped it would in that respect. That made it stand out against what other universities offered for Philosophy.
Did the course meet your expectations?
I studied Philosophy and Ethics at A-level and I thought it was going to be like that. But what I soon realized was that I had studied Philosophy of Religion, which is a very tiny module out of the whole of Philosophy.
So that was my limited expectation and the degree course opened my mind to so many different areas of philosophy.
Philosophy is great because it can be applied to almost any other topic. I had quite a lot of varied interests over time on the course, for example German, Biology and Classics. You can lightly touch on a lot of other subjects in philosophy, so it’s really satisfying.
What was your favourite aspect of the course?
Philosophy tends to make you quite open. I really liked the Ancient Philosophy.
You come in with assumptions and preconceptions about topics, or certain philosophers, and the course just goes into so much depth that it gets rid of any prior assumptions. You have to start from scratch and build up your knowledge again.
Did you have like a most valuable thing that you've learned from the course?
I think initially I was a little frustrated because I thought Philosophy hadn't put me on a career path that's really obvious and I thought that maybe some people would think I'd wasted my time. But I got so much out of it in multiple ways.
I'm understanding people and the way that they argue, the way that they make their points, the justifications they use - really improving communication with people was a key aspect. Also, being able to articulate yourself in writing and in conversations in a clear, logical way and being able to back up your points. It makes you ask yourself questions before you write something down and say, why am I writing this? Why am I making this point? And that really makes you thorough.
Did you do any extra-curricular activities at UEA?
Rock-climbing and pole fitness were the two main clubs I was involved in while at UEA, both of which I still do now.
I take part in pole fitness competitions, I train twice a week and eventually, I want to become an instructor. It’s become a huge passion of mine, that I wouldn’t have found without UEA. That was one thing about UEA that stood out to me, they offered so many clubs and societies compared to the other universities I’d been looking at.
I also did a lot of volunteering with local charities, so I felt very connected to the community.
What is your current role?
I've been with this same charity for nearly three years and have progressed up in different roles as I’ve developed.
This role is supporting some major organizational projects, the current one being about fund-raising for a charity and the planning behind that. And then there's a wider part of the role which is about the maturity of the organization as a whole and helping to develop that. So, it's quite wide in terms of what the role offers and there is an element of freedom as to how far I take it.
How are you taking aspects of your degree into working life?
Problem solving is a huge one, and tied in with that is critical thinking.
I think this has allowed me to stand out from other people because I can proactively see problems and solutions, that others may not. Because Philosophy gives you the skills to tackle problems differently, you don’t tend to get stuck in the same thinking patterns the way others may do.
Did you have a clear vision for your career path?
I was never attached to a certain picture of how my future would look, what I wanted to do was take as many opportunities as possible outside of my course to support it and get a good balance of academic and career experience. That’s one great thing about UEA, there is so much on offer than you can do alongside your course. It’s very important once you’ve left university to get experience outside of your course, you don’t want to leave and know your course but nothing else.
How did the job hunt go?
Because I had experience in volunteering, I’d prepared myself to begin at the bottom.
This definitely took the pressure off, I just wanted to get into a paid position and build my way up. I did a six- month internship, which was a great option as I knew it didn’t have to be a set career path and there’s room for exploring other careers.
There is an expectation that university will put you on a very clear path. You'll go on to the next step and that will be your career from then on and there won't be any sort of twists and turns. But that's not how life works. And through those twists and turns you’re able to explore what opportunities are out there.
What advice do you have for student applying to UEA to study Philosophy?
Be prepared and excited to learn a lot about a lot of different areas and make the most out of the opportunities that are offered alongside your course.
For example, the Professional Practice Scheme, which gave a variety of experience and a new certification.
I think there are some people who are very academically focused, and they think that they must put all their time and energy into the course. But for Philosophy in particular, I think it's important to give your mind a break because it can be intense and it's better to have a variety of things in your life – to give your academic mind a break.
What would you have done differently, if anything, at UEA?
I would have opted to do a dissertation.
Since graduating there’s been a certain area of Philosophy that hasn’t left my mind, it’s something that still pops up almost every week. I think it would have been really satisfying to have a space to really explore that in a lot of depth and have it all written down and reasoned out.
Favourite UEA memory
Pole fitness was the best thing I could have done at UEA. The community of people were so welcoming, you don’t need any prior experience, you don’t need to be a dancer or a gymnast, you just show up and you’re accepted. It was one of the most brilliant parts of my life, and now I can do cool tricks as well!