Our grantees| Václav Benedikt Loula| Two main lessons of this school year
28. June 2019 Václav Benedikt Loula

Two main lessons of this school year

The end of the first year is an important milestone for every student because the exam season is marked by fear of the unknown. How does it feel like to write a philosophical essay on time? Will there be any tricky questions? What is the right answer? The irony being that in philosophy there is no right answer. But after I left the exam hall, I felt such a relief as if all the anxiety of this year fell from my shoulders. After all, there is nothing to surprise me next year because I have finally garnered the full gist of the university life.

Nevertheless, the number of hours I spent revising for exams made me appreciate philosophy even more. Somehow, I felt the urge to express my ideas. Therefore, I became a blogger for a student-run philosophy magazine called Pharos. The goal of Pharos is to provide a platform to all philosophy undergraduates to share their ideas and their best essays. This allows students to write their first philosophical publications and to inspire others in the pursuit of knowledge. I also joined Warwick Freshblood New Writing which helps students to write and stage their own plays. Hence, over the summer I will be working on a surreal play that will criticize habits of the consumerist society. This is what I like about British universities. If you have an idea or an innate drive to do something, there is always an infrastructure laid down before you which helps you to attain your goals. 

However, university is not only a bed of roses. England is expensive and in order to afford living here for the next year I will have to work for the whole summer. I have started working for a catering company, but to be honest I am quite glad for that experience. What I have learned whilst studying philosophy is that to truly understand a person you have to step into their own shoes. University makes us feel like we have all the answers, yet when you start doing a regular job you will find out that there are many different hierarchies of values and there are so many things that you have previously ignored. Hence, a real life experience is a key to get rid off our epistemic ignorance. 

So, how to summarize this year? First of all, to indulge in the world of ideas is something worth doing. By studying philosophy and writing articles you attain cognitive pleasures (to paraphrase Noel Carrol). Don’t study to become the smartest person in the room, study because it is fun. Secondly, if you want to truly understand those around you, then commit yourself to the attainment of a real life experience. This will allow you to broaden your horizons, to understand what people around you are going through and to combat ignorance at large. In conclusion, those are the two most important lessons I have learned this year (hopefully I will not take them back next year).

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