I felt like I wanted a challenge

Image of Andreea, politics student ambassador, sat at a desk with a notepad and a cup of tea
Andreea Huidan
Andreea Huidan
BA Politics and Philosophy
"My tutorials in both Politics and Philosophy have always felt like a great platform to try out ideas and debate controversial texts or take a critical approach in analysing the latest political news."

Why did you choose this particular course?

Before coming to University, I’d discovered a passion for discussing social and political issues. I’d been doing competitive debating for 4 years before having to decide what academic path to follow and a degree in politics seemed nearly perfect – but I felt like I wanted a challenge, so I chose to do a dual with Philosophy. I was fascinated by the very few books on the history of philosophy that I had read, but I only partly acquainted with the subject, so it was reassuring to find out that the programme would start with the basics.

The reasons I chose to study this course at Sheffield were, firstly, knowing that studying Politics here would mean I would have the chance of learning from the very academics who conduct research in the field and whose insights would (and did) prove to be remarkably valuable and inspiring. The second important criterion in my decision was the flexibility that the course provided. Not having any compulsory modules in Philosophy meant I could customise my study programme according to my interests and this was a huge advantage since the number of Philosophy modules I could take throughout a year as a dual student is lower than that of a student who’s doing a single honours programme, for practical reasons. Over the years, this has enabled me to focus on the modules that piqued my curiosity and, in the process, distinguish what seems interesting from those topics or niches I find truly fascinating and that could lay the ground for my future research.

Felicity Matthews is in the foreground of the image, speaking to a group of students sat at desks with laptops.

Studying Politics here would mean I would have the chance of learning from the very academics who conduct research in the field and whose insights would (and did) prove to be remarkably valuable and inspiring.


What do you enjoy most about the course?

Although it is rather hard to choose, I’d have to say that one particular thing I enjoy – apart from the subject matter – is the interactive and engaging teaching style. My tutorials in both Politics and Philosophy have always felt like a great platform to try out ideas and debate controversial texts or take a critical approach in analysing the latest political news. Another aspect of this course that I found absolute crucial and genuinely fundamental in both of these fields and above is the emphasis on critical thinking skills. Being able to critically analyse a new article or recognise the fundamental premises of an argument when reading a book is definitely a universally valuable ability that proves to be crucial even outside of the classroom.

Has there been any module in particular that you have really enjoyed?

I’ve taken a module called Mind, Brain and Personal Identity in my first year and I found it very intriguing, so I continued down this path in my second year and I took the Philosophy of Mind module. This was how I realised how fascinating this field was and how much it has to offer. I’d discovered an interest in Psychology in high school, but it always seemed like Psychology wasn’t really asking the questions I was most curious about and I had no idea that the human mind could be approached from this complementary but significantly different perspective. One of the benefits of studying Philosophy was that it is highly interdisciplinary and for me, this meant that I didn’t have to compromise my curiosity for other fields.

In Politics, two of my favourite modules were Introduction to Global Political Economy and Oppression and Resistance. The former was especially interesting because it revealed a new dimension of Politics in approaching global phenomena from an interdisciplinary perspective of Political Economy. Because it was a first-year module, it provided a historical overview of the most influential ideologies, global development and touched upon the important aspects of macroeconomics. Prior to taking this module, my knowledge of economics was very limited, but fortunately, it was primarily Politics-oriented and it even enabled me to better understand economic concepts and phenomena that I later encountered in other modules. Oppression and Resistance was one of the most fascinating and engaging modules I took in my second year. Before coming to University, my idea of studying Politics revolved around gaining a better understanding of the protection of human rights, social phenomena, and focusing on the intersection of social and political issues – and this is particularly what this module covered. We discussed some of the most relevant social movements and their implications and learnt how to critically assess the public discourse of political figures, to go beyond what is often disguised as everyday political speech and understand its ideological basis.

Can you share your experiences of the support you received either from academics within the department or within the University?

My experience would’ve probably been very different without such a reliable support system.

One aspect that I was unaware of before starting university was the allocation of a personal tutor for each student – and equally, this meant that, as a dual student, I would have a tutor or advisor from each department. Through these years, my personal tutors have advised me on all sorts of academic and personal issues and they’ve provided the sort of guidance that made it so much easier for me to find and follow my academic journey. My experience would’ve probably been very different without such a reliable support system.

Another truly significant benefit I was pleasantly surprised to find out about is that every academic has a number of office hours when students can ask for support and guidance, ask questions about the modules they’re studying, or simply discuss some of the readings they found interesting. This seemed to be something my British coursemates were already acquainted with, but I’d never heard about it and it’s not something customary back home. I’m perhaps appreciating the privilege of office hours more because of its novelty, but I would highly encourage every student to visit their teachers during office hours, ask questions and discuss their ideas with them because this will certainly improve their academic experience and deepen their understanding of the subject they’re studying.

Students' Union

Advance Register for Clearing

We have places on our undergraduate courses this autumn. If you've already got your results you can apply now, or if you're still waiting for results get your name on the list by advance registering.