Emily Chapman: Faculty of Arts Alumni Scholarship Awards Recipient

Emily is a first-year Philosophy BA student and recipient of the Faculty of Arts Alumni Scholarship Awards. She explains what this has meant to her.

I am the first person in my family to go to university. At A level I studied English literature, philosophy and drama. The latter served as an artistic release from my essay-heavy subjects.

I managed to achieve AAB in the ‘mini exams’ which were sprung upon my year group due to Covid-19. Upon reflection, I recognise that many of my achievements were against the odds, yet I am thankful that my parents consistently emphasised the importance of education in my upbringing. 

When I found out about this scholarship I applied instantly, knowing that it would facilitate a university experience where I would be financially secure; something which was previously impossible.

The day I found out I had been accepted, I had just finished an English literature exam. I was walking to my mum’s car when I opened the acceptance email and screamed with excitement!

Discovering philosophy

The discovery of my interest in philosophy was bittersweet. In 2017, my dad passed away from cancer. We were heartbroken and my mum was forced to face the many challenges of being a single parent.

The years that followed were particularly difficult for me – I struggled with various mental health issues and an eating disorder. However, I began to find solace in existentialist philosophy.

I read ‘The Outsider’ by Albert Camus and was comforted by his revelation that nothing matters as much as one may think. This was a calming thought, especially with so much chaos in my own life.

I continued reading existentialist material by Camus and Jean Paul-Satre,
choosing to study the subject at A level and eventually, degree level.

Choosing Nottingham

I applied to five universities, receiving offers from all of them. Nottingham stood out to me for various reasons. I loved the lush green campus as it reminded me of the Yorkshire countryside from home. Furthermore, the Philosophy BA course here is amazing!

I struggled to find modules at other universities which acknowledged a female viewpoint on philosophical issues. This is important to me since my end goal is to become a professor of philosophy, therefore I need some representation of women to encourage myself that I will fit in such a male-dominated field.

Settling into university life

My first few months here have been the best of my life! I live in Cripps Hall and have met so many interesting people from all different walks of life. I love the social aspect of catered halls and being able to catch up with my friends every night at dinner.

I have enrolled in modules on feminist and political philosophy, run by strong female role models who embody the professor that I wish to be in the future.

The Scholarship has allowed me to join societies such as Philosophy, Fashion and Underground Music instead of needing to undertake a part time job, increasing the time that I can spend on my studies and personal enrichment. Hopefully I can become the first Doctor of Philosophy in my family!