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Saoirse Lyons BA Philosophy

Studying Medicine and is a member of the Territorial Army and the University of London Officer Training Corps

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Hi, I'm Saoirse Lyons and I studied BA Philosophy within Humanities at the University of Southampton.

Philosophy has provided me with a unique way of looking at the world and a sound reasoning maturity, which many lack when grasping complex concepts and making difficult decisions. It has given me a trained mind, the self-discipline needed for a career of life-long learning and a skill set which stands me apart from my colleagues

How did you get interested in Philosophy?

I went to a convent school and studied Theology for A level which was initially what sparked my interest. Plus I always had a firm interest in anything that involved proving I was right.

Why did you choose to study at Southampton?

I wanted to be based at a campus university that was near the sea so I could sail. Southampton ticked all the boxes for me and had just so much to offer. When I visited on a sunny afternoon and there were hundreds of students sat on the lawn opposite the library drinking Pimm's I knew it was the place for me.

What did you like most about your degree programme?

I liked the structure of the programme: the fact that everyone had to cover key concepts yet had the freedom to choose modules that interested you and to analyse ideas which you felt passionately about. The staff are all fantastic: extremely knowledgeable, supportive and keen to pass their enthusiasm for the subject onto students.

Which were your favourite branches of Philosophy?

Initially I had a keen interest in ethics and the philosophy of religion. However I ended up relishing in modules such as Logic, Nietzsche, the works of Wittgenstein and the philosophy of Maths (and generally anything else taught by Ray Monk).

What was the best thing about living and studying in Southampton?

I look back on my time in Southampton ever so fondly. Everyone appeared to be of a similar mindset – to work hard but party even harder. Despite Southampton being such a big university everyone gets to know each other really quickly and by the end of the first year you recognise almost everyone: either through sports teams, clubs and socs, Wednesday nights at Jesters or nights in the Cube. Weeks of library based revision were interspersed with horse riding in the New Forest, pub lunches in Hamble, surfing in Bournemouth and sailing in the Solent. Life as a Southampton University student is a truly unique experience. I have the most wonderful memories - I had the most fantastic time and met some friends who I will remain close to for the rest of my life.

What have you been doing since you graduated?

Post Philosophy I had a gap year in which I did a ski season in France for 6 months and then raced 65ft yachts professionally for the remainder. I started Medicine in September 2008 - and I'm still studying Medicine at Bart’s and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, just about to enter my 4th year. I’m yet to meet any other Philosophers turned Medics and will (hopefully) qualify in 2013. I am heavily involved with the military - through the Territorial Army and the University of London Officer Training Corps. I hope to join the army as a regular once I qualify and specialise in trauma anaesthetics. I am due to deploy to Afghanistan in 2014.

Has studying Philosophy helped you in your career?

Despite taking a rather unconventional route into Medicine I can honestly say gaining a degree in philosophy, despite now being older and in significantly more debt than most of my medical student colleagues, was probably one of the best decisions I've ever made. Philosophy has provided me with a unique way of looking at the world and a sound reasoning maturity, which many lack, when grasping complex concepts and making difficult decisions. It has given me a trained mind, the self discipline needed for a career of life-long learning and a skill set which stands me apart from my colleagues.

Are you still interested in philosophical ideas?

I never, ever, thought I’d say this. But I have recently started to re-read several key Philosophical texts in my, albeit minimal, spare time. I still have a keen interest in Philosophy and still thoroughly enjoying reading about it.

Would you recommend studying the subject to other people?

Absolutely – I miss nurturing my mind and knowing that at the end of such a long slog, almost through default, you'll end up a better person. Unfortunately Medicine carries no such advantages. I shall, no doubt, keep the wisdom literature section of Amazon in business for a good few years yet.

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