Nana Yaa Awere was awarded the 2021 Arlene and Alvin Altman Scholarship for academic excellence. She is a third-year undergrad student majoring in sociology and philosophy. In the following interview, we catch up with Nana and chat about philosophy, life, and her plans after graduation.
What has been the best part of your experience in the philosophy department?
The best part is being able to apply what I learn to my own life and to the world in general. On top of that, the professors are amazing and they’re the biggest reason I continue to enjoy my experience studying philosophy.
Favorite philosophy classes?
In no particular order: Feminist Philosophy with Dr. Hartley, Intro to Philosophy with Dr. Berry, and Origins of Western Philosophy with Dr. O’Keefe. I’m currently taking Rise of Modern Philosophy with Dr. Wilson and I'm sure it'll be on my list of favorites by the end of the semester!
Why did you choose philosophy?
I thought I wanted to be a lawyer, so I considered my options and decided that majoring in philosophy would help me reach that goal. Spoiler alert: I changed my mind about practicing law. Because of that, I sometimes find myself questioning if philosophy was the right choice, but ultimately, I don’t regret my decision since I genuinely enjoy what I’m studying; the things I’ve learned so far have helped me become a deeper thinker, a better writer, and a more well-rounded person.
What are your plans after graduation?
I plan to apply to a graduate program either at GSU or somewhere else. I’m in the process of figuring out what I want to study, but thankfully, there’s still time to explore my interests and find a focus.
What advice would you give to students thinking about a degree in philosophy?
Do it! Philosophy is a great major that will change the way you think and likely the way you live your life (in a good way). You might choose to major in it exclusively to get the full effect, but I think it’s just as useful as a minor or a second major. As a philosophy and sociology double major, I’ve found that a lot of what I learn in both fields complements each other, and having knowledge of philosophical concepts really enhances the sociological perspective. So, whether you decide to study philosophy by itself or as an add-on, you’ll find it beneficial in your academic pursuits and life in general.
Outside of school, what are some of your hobbies and interests?
I really enjoy playing piano, going on nature walks, and listening to podcasts that are both entertaining and thought-provoking (kind of like philosophy classes). My two favorites are Invisibilia and Heavyweight which I think—at the risk of sounding like a sponsored advertisement—are worth a listen!