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The University of Southampton
PhilosophyPart of Humanities

Xanthippe Waldron BA Philosophy and Maths, 2014

Xanthippe Waldron's Photo

Hi, I'm Xanthippe Waldron and I studied BA Philosophy and Maths within Philosophy at the University of Southampton.

Coming here is one of the best decisions I ever made. The campuses are beautiful in summer and Avenue is a lovely quiet space to study. There’s also a lot of “extra” facilities that really aren’t talked about enough – the Careers and Employability Service, free counselling and mental health support, office hours for all University lecturers and help with housing.

What do you enjoy about the course?
I like the variety combined honours allows. Even though I had to study a lot of Maths modules to cover the basics, I’ve had quite a few options to study the parts of philosophy I enjoy, and have also taken two Curriculum Innovation modules outside of my subject. I also chose to do two third-year projects (one in Philosophy, one in Maths) which has really allowed to focus on the topics I like which aren’t necessarily taught here. The lecturers in Philosophy also deserve a mention as they are fantastic – extremely knowledgeable, approachable and willing to help. When I said I was interested in publishing, one of them even forwarded my CV to his publishers and I got a placement in London as a result

What is Southampton like as a place to study?
Coming here is one of the best decisions I ever made. The campuses are beautiful in summer and Avenue is a lovely quiet space to study. There’s also a lot of “extra” facilities that really aren’t talked about enough – everyone hears about their department and the Student’s Union, but there is also the Careers and Employability Service (I secured two paid placements last summer, one at a Winchester publishing house and one in the University’s own Marketing department), free counselling and mental health support (university is great but it can be stressful, and it’s nice to have a structure in place for that), office hours for all University lecturers (it’s nice to know there is a time to visit them when you won’t be interrupting anything), and help with housing (I’m pretty sure I have the best landlord in Southampton, he can’t do enough for us and is absolutely lovely!). I’ve also been involved in several societies, particularly comedy – I’m now vice-president and perform stand-up in various venues in town. In short, my experience here has been outstanding – I don’t want to leave!

Tell us about your career aspirations
I’m quite flexible on what to do next year. I will be applying to Southampton’s ECS department for an MSc in Web Science, but I’ve also been offered a position at the company I currently work at. (The Careers and Employability Service enabled me to get two work placements last summer, and I was offered a part time job as Marketing Associate in a company called RioMed as a result. They’ve been extremely flexible, allowing me to balance the work with my final year studies.) I’d quite like to work in publishing eventually but I’m open to anything and want a challenge – I’m just going to see what happens with the leads I currently have!

How do you think your course will help you in your chosen role?
It already has! Being able to get to the point and stick to your stance in Philosophy has really helped me defend myself in meetings and negotiations, and the logical skills I have gained are invaluable. Having good written skills is key, and the oral presentations we’ve done throughout the course (as well as my performing arts experience) mean I’m no longer shy of presentations and public speaking. The flexibility of the course has also made me more confident in stepping outside of the box – because I’ve taken modules and chosen projects that others wouldn’t necessarily have thought of, and stepped outside of my academic comfort zone, it means I have a wider skillset and have proven to myself that risks can pay off.

What advice would you give to a student starting their degree at Southampton?
That performing stand-up comedy is far more terrifying than the job market! We get told a lot of employability statistics, and while it’s good to be realistic about prospects, my experience has been that if you bite the bullet and go for things, things can work out. I didn’t think I would come this far in only three years, and certainly didn’t imagine I’d have gained this much workplace experience. Not everything has been perfect, but I started university working in a supermarket, and now I feel confident seeking out graduate roles, which will be far more interesting and challenging. I would say, if something comes up, whether it’s a job application, an opportunity to lead a visit day, or a gig out of town – go for it, you never know what might happen or who you might meet. Yes, the structures in place at University are great and very useful – go to lectures, find a placement, etc. – but be confident enough to go out and find your own opportunities as well, even if they don’t seem relevant at the time.

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