There comes a time in every Lasell student’s life when Philosophy302: Ethical Reasoning comes to call. Typically taken in your junior year, ethics is a notoriously grueling course. Long readings about difficult-to-process topics are given for every class, and two long essays are expected by the end of the semester. As a senior, I served my time last semester. And to be quite honest, I kind of enjoyed it. However, that feeling only came when I felt I had a real understanding of the concepts and the class expectations. To help the next generations of ethics students, I’ve polled some of my fellow philosophy survivors for their best tips on how to come out of the semester in one piece and be happy with the work you’ve done.
Understanding the Concepts
For many, the hardest part about ethics is understanding the complex topics and readings the class is based around. Experts in the field don’t always explain things in beginner-friendly ways. Some of the readings also date back hundreds of years, making the language even more confusing. However, there are ways to get your head details. Multiple students told me that they highly recommend going to the Academic Achievement Center here on campus to meet with a tutor who can better explain the theories. Other responses recommended “never be afraid to reach out to your professor” and “ask the professor a ton of questions”. Luckily, with small class numbers here your professors are super accessible to you! Many students also recommended getting together with classmates, either informally or at the weekly study sessions in the library. One student gave the help response, “Learn to read like a grad student – skim, know the guided questions and look for those”. Overall it seems the best way to learn is to ask for help!
Keeping Up With The Work
The next most daunting aspect of ethics is the amount of work it requires. There are long readings and question responses due in almost every class. You also have to prepare yourself for the in-class debates. Finally, by the end of the semester, you’ll have written two long essays about the ethical dilemma of your choosing. But don’t panic! Many people have passed the class before you and there are plenty of ways to deal with the work. One student recommends choosing a strategic time to take the class, saying “Take it in the summer, 100% more manageable, little to no debates and more help from the professor”. Other tips include making sure to stay on top of your work, and being vigilant so you don’t fall behind. When it comes to writing your essays, many recommend having a tutor at the Academic Achievement Center look over your work. Personally, I recommend choosing a topic that has a lot of available resources like articles so you never run out of quotes and opinions. If you can’t think of a topic, you can always ask your professor for help thinking of one.
When it comes down to it, ethics is like any other class. If you put in the work and ask for help, you will succeed. I highly recommend going in with a positive and curious mindset. There are actually a lot of interesting and thought-provoking things to learn about in Philosophy 302. Always remember, hundreds of people have passed the class before you!