Ph.D. Student in Philosophy at the Pennsylvania State University
Former Director, Marketing and Education at inHEALTH
I graduated with a Bachelor of Humanities in 2010 with a Combined Honours in Humanities and Philosophy. After getting married in the summer and travelling in France and Italy, I started my Masters of Arts in Philosophy at the University of Ottawa with an Excellence Scholarship and an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) funding my studies. I chose this Masters program because it is a pluralist department, echoing the Bachelor of Humanities’ strong focus on language studies and close reading of primary texts.
In the second year of my M.A., in the midst of writing my thesis on Plato and Jacques Derrida, my husband grew seriously ill and I was forced to take time away from my studies. My life ended up taking a turn that I hadn’t prepared for and I found myself needing full time employment, while still trying to finish my thesis and caring for my husband. I took a job doing data entry at inHEALTH, a boutique independent insurance adjusting firm in Toronto.
It soon became apparent that someone in the organization needed to take on a larger marketing role and be the voice of the company. In a meeting with the President, she mentioned a number of future goals that needed executing. Spurred on by the challenge, I spoke up and said, “I can do that.” Before I knew it I was the Director of Marketing in charge of revamping our brand, website, and communications. In the early mornings and at night after work, I was still finishing my Masters thesis, and eventually taking my GRE exam and applying for Ph.D. programs.
I know I could not have accomplished what I did in those three years after graduation without the strong foundation that the B.Hum provided me. Studying the humanities and philosophy developed my critical thinking, writing, and researching skills. The small classes, individual attention and mentoring, discussion groups and close-knit community of peers taught me how to clarify my ideas and articulate arguments. Most importantly I learned how to work hard, be curious, tackle problems, and bring passion into everything I do. These skills have been equally as valuable to me in academia as in the business world—where success has meant taking initiative, asking the necessary questions, and knowing how to communicate problems and solutions to different audiences.
In August, I will begin my Ph.D. in philosophy at the Pennsylvania State University as a University Fellow. Taking on this new challenge, I will continue to call on the knowledge, skills, and life-long friends that my time at the College of the Humanities gave me.
Tiffany Tsantsoulas is a Ph.d. candidate in Philosophy at Penn State University