A great time to get involved!

There is a lot going on with our alumni programme at the moment and things are pretty crazy in the office! We have our first ever alumni London get together tonight in Covent Garden; there is a big event coming up on Tuesday 7 June and, of course, our first ever Homecoming event is being held on the 25 June. We have also recently held events in Shanghai and Beijing and started an alumni lecture programme. We would love to know what you think of our expanding events schedule – email us on alumni@reading.ac.uk to let us know what you think about the events coming up and if you have any idea for future events.

Our volunteering programme is also expanding, with a shiny new Social Media Ambassadors scheme being launched today. If you haven’t heard about it and you would like to get involved, email me at alumni@reading.ac.uk to find out more. Also, Thrive mentoring will be rolling out across nearly all degree courses this summer giving you a chance to share your skills with the next generation. Watch this space – there will be more news on that coming soon…

And as if that wasn’t enough, we are planning to launch a new alumni website this summer alongside newly branded e-newsletters and emails which will give our future communications with you a whole new look and feel. We will be letting you know when to expect them and would really welcome your feedback. If you are not currently on our mailing lists, email alumni@reading.ac.uk to make sure you don’t miss out on all the latest news and please do share your news with us. Don’t forget we are always on the lookout for bloggers and entries for the “Your News” section of Connected so do get in touch and let us know what is happening with you!

One of the best things about my job here is seeing more and more of you getting involved in our events, volunteering and communications. Our events, communications and volunteering programmes are really developing fast and we would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions as what opportunities might interest you, our alumni. Keep in touch with an email, a phone call, or pop in and see us in Blandford Lodge on the Whiteknights campus; we will always be pleased to hear from you!

Beyond a philosophy degree

What can one do with a philosophy degree? In today’s blog post we hear from two former philosophy students who have gone on to very different careers.

Joanna-Griffin-photo-cmpI am a Chartered Counselling Psychologist and studied my master’s at the School of Psychotherapy and Psychology at Regents College, and supervision training at the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling in London.

The psychological approach of both colleges is based on Existential philosophy so we considered many philosophers including the works of Sartre, Heidegger, and Nietzsche. Having already studied philosophy I was familiar with some of their works, but more importantly I felt comfortable with how to approach, discuss and digest philosophy.  I also utilised the skills, developed at Reading, of considering how philosophy can be applied to everyday life, how it is important to take the time out of our busy schedules to consider the bigger picture – that life is finite, we make our own choices in life and have to take responsibility for that.  The issue of Sartre’s ‘bad faith’, which I first learnt about at Reading, is something that has been particularly pertinent to me in my life and I still think of this often in my work with clients.

To have a philosophical approach to life is a very valuable thing. It is easy in our lives to get caught up in trivia, superficiality and short term issues. The ability to take a step back, analyse and reflect is something that I endeavour to do on a regular basis (and have to remind myself to do), even whilst doing something as simple as reading a newspaper.  I hope this is something all former philosophy students can keep hold of in whatever line of work they end up in.

Find out more about Joanna at her website.

From philosophy conferences to parliament, the grounding that philosophy gave me in understanding the value of knowledge, has been fundamental to my career.

I worked with the Forum for European Philosophy, before immersing myself in the Westminster bubble working for the two top political publishers and information providers.

It was in politics that I first started working with Third Sector organisations, helping them in their engagement with policy makers and stakeholders, a line which I have now chosen to pursue further by moving into fundraising and engagement for two of the industry’s leading consultancies and change-makers.

Hear more from Keira about studying philosophy at Reading in the video below.

Learn more about our Philosophy department here.

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