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Emily studied her undergraduate joint degree in Psychology and Philosophy at Reading. After studying at Reading for three years and loving the course and student life, Emily was not ready to leave and stayed back to pursue her MRes in Philosophy.

"I loved studying philosophy modules as an undergraduate and had close networks with the Department. I particularly enjoyed Meaning of Life and Meaning and The Mind modules, which generated heavy thought both in and outside of the classroom.

"Studying philosophy gave me the opportunity to write about important ethical debates, in an inclusive environment, with the support of welcoming staff in the Department."

The First Three Years

Throughout her time as an undergraduate student, Emily endeavoured to get the most out of her university experience.

"As a Course Representative for three years, I liaised with Department members, reviewing what I loved about the course and areas which required improvement. It was empowering offering feedback that could improve the student experience for future applicants. I also attended many Philosophy Society events which allowed me to network with students from different years, learning about their experience and contemplating where philosophy could take me."

Emily also pursued a summer placement in Bali, Indonesia as a Mental Health Volunteer with an aim to explore global mental health treatment in the western world.

"I visited psychiatric facilities and community centres around Bali, leading workshops and yoga classes as a volunteer. I came back thinking I want to explore philosophy more bringing philosophy and life coaching together. Now, I aim to incorporate psychological and philosophical theories of wellbeing in a future career, involving mental health and personal development."

Progressing to the next level

With a growing interest in philosophical theories, Emily felt she had not explored the subject as much as she would have liked to as an undergraduate. Hence she decided to embark on the journey of postgraduate study.

"The MRes allows me to research a field that enthrals me, and be supervised by experts within the Department. The Philosophy Department at Reading is unique in that it is small and allows close communication with Department members. There is a welcoming and inspiring energy to the Department, which I did not experience at other universities."

Speaking of the highlights of her MRes experience, Emily says:

"Supervisor meetings have proved to be very insightful. After reading and writing independently, it is always interesting to hear supervisor thoughts about your research. Presenting my work to other postgraduate students is also very insightful and generates valuable feedback. Listening to other student presentations is eye-opening and generates interesting ideas for future essays."

The next steps

Emily hopes to incorporate psychological and philosophical theories of wellbeing into a career as a Life-Coach and Yoga Teacher.

"I would like to explore personality and mental health from a spiritual and personal development perspective, helping people acknowledge negative thought patterns and live a meaningful and positive life. I hope to read and write about philosophy regularly after my master's, pursuing editorial opportunities as they arise. I also aim to incorporate Yoga Philosophy into a career as a life coach."

Tips for new starters

Sharing some guidance for those planning to study in the Department, Emily advises:

"Postgraduate study is much more independent than undergraduate study. Adapt your routine to account for more independent study time. Do not be afraid to ask questions and pursue research in an area that inspires you. Be involved in research outside of your area to ensure you are open-minded about your own thinking and writing. Ask others to read your work and provide feedback.

"I cannot imagine leaving the University of Reading and am sure I will return to study a PhD at some point in the future."