Eryn SchlotePhilosophy major
Branson, Missouri

Philosophical foundations
Eryn is a philosophy major who is involved in theatre, serves as an IMPACT leader, works in the student development office, and gives campus tours as an Admissions Ambassador. Following graduation, she plans either to attend graduate school for art therapy or pursue a job in the social services field.

I think, therefore ...
I love philosophy because I love to think and I’m always questioning things. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people blindly accept what they hear from others and run with it, without processing for themselves what they really believe. It’s more difficult—but ultimately more rewarding—to probe what you’re learning before you make it part of your personal philosophy. Keeping all these thoughts and questions just in my own head is not very productive, though, so being part of a group of students who also love to think and discuss them is why I’m a philosophy major.

Sometimes philosophy majors read things that aren’t even required (gasp!) because we’re genuinely interested in what we’re learning in class. We like to debate and be challenged. Our professors talk with us as equals, creating one big discussion, rather than lecturing at us from behind a podium. And as students, we push each other to think deeply. Our conversations often sound like, “What about this?” “Well, have you thought about this?” “But there’s also this.” “Yeah, but that would mean this.” We always have a countering statement or question regarding what our peers—and even our professors—say. It’s exhilarating to have a mature environment even in the face of disagreements.

Intelligent faith
In the philosophy department, every issue we discuss is in the light of who God is, which of his characteristics are evident in different ideologies, and how that strengthens or detracts from the argument presented. In my Philosophy and Christianity course, we spent the entire semester studying heaven and hell. We compared Scripture with traditional and contemporary views and past and modern-day philosophers. Other classes begin in prayer and discussion of how we can bring God glory through whatever we are doing, whether it’s our art or research or writing.

Learning to be brave
I’ve had the opportunity to do so much, both in and outside of class, which has stretched my preconceived notions about myself. In elementary school I was the shy little girl who blushed profusely if you even looked at me. Speak up in class? Never. Now I’m dancing in RUSH, performing in the student-directed one-act plays, speaking to audiences ranging from high school students to the elderly to ex-convicts, and participating in class—with confidence. The family I’ve found at Northwestern has given me the push I needed to fully seek my potential in Christ.

Real-world impact
Most students go to school and immerse themselves in the college life, but not many have a chance to be involved in the community. At Northwestern I’ve been given many opportunities to get out of my own social bubble and minister to the real world. For a psychology seminar, I had to give a community presentation, so I went to the state correctional facility in Sheldon and talked to the men there about hope and their own futures. Outside of academics, I lead a youth group for Orange City and Alton high school students who have a special passion for helping others. I don’t just come to school to study before I leave for the summer; I come here to live.