Staff and lecturers
The first thing to look forward to is how friendly the department is. From my experience, I think that the staff definitely understand that Philosophy can be quite a demanding and a tricky subject (especially for someone who has never done it before university). Particularly in first year, everyone covers the same modules (they are compulsory). They are picked in order to give you certain skills which you will use in your next 2 years at university. After your first year, you can pick which modules you want to study. This gives you a chance to explore what you have a real interest in. You get to share ideas with fellow students and understand the topic in deeper detail.
The staff are willing to give you all the support and help that you need. All lecturers and tutors have office hours. However, if you are unable to make them, most lecturers are happy to arrange another time to meet and get help. Everyone is also assigned a tutor, who you have termly meetings with. If you need to speak to them more they are only an email away!
I have also found that the lecturers challenge you to achieve the best that you can. They really make you think about your ideas and give you space to do so. I find it makes each of your modules more interesting. Lecturers always offer their perspective on things, but allow you to make your mind up about what you personally think.
All the staff are really helpful with any office needs. Whether that be module changes or assessment submission help, they are generally very quick at replying. It really feels like a small community, which is great, especially if you are far from home.
Philosophy Weekend Away
Later on in the year, the staff at the department organise a weekend away. It is normally around the Easter holidays. Last year the weekend away took place in Whitby, and this year it is Haworth. The trip is a chance to have fun with course friends and lecturers. The weekend has a full schedule which includes Philosophy talks (by the staff members), games, social activities and free time! It is also relatively cheap. This year it was £30 which has been heavily subsidised by the department. This includes transport, accommodation and all meals, which is such a good deal.
If you do come to York, this is a perfect chance for you to have fun with your friends away from the university. It is also a great opportunity to meet people who you may have not interacted with before, as the trip is open to students in all years. The weekend is around essay time, which means that it is a perfect break away from work. It allows you to get your thoughts together before you get back and start writing.
The Department (Philosophy Reception)
I have been lucky that during my time here at York, the Philosophy reception has been redecorated. The staff members listened to student feedback, and redecorated the reception to make it a more friendly, sociable and relaxed environment.
Although the department is small in comparison to others, it fits what Philosophy is about. It really feels like a community. The reception area is perfect for discussions with your fellow students, friends or tutors. There is plenty of relaxed seating (lots of sofa space), which means that it is great for group work before a seminar or a lecture. It is also good if you need somewhere to do some independent work when campus gets busy during exam times.
There are also plenty of resources that the department have put in the reception. There is a printer, which is so useful for printing out formative assignments. The reception also has a hot drinks machine, which is 50p per drink (incredibly cheap in comparison to other places on campus). It is great to grab a hot drink before a seminar or an office hour. They also have charger cables for your laptop or phone, which is so handy when you run out of battery. Finally, there is a communal Mac, which you are able to log onto and print work/resources out.
So there are my 3 things to look forward to, in the Philosophy department! As I said Philosophy is so friendly and everyone is very welcoming! I think that is one of my favourite things about studying Philosophy at York. It is really nice to have a support system when you are away from home, and when you go through stressful times such as exams and essay periods.