My name is Marleina Ubel. I am, among other things, an employee, partner, mother, and philosophy major. While I am a recent graduate from UNC, I did not begin my college education here. I transferred from a community college in Orlando. That is where my passion for philosophy began. I had been out of school for more than a couple of years and had only a vague longing for knowledge to carry me along. I did well in my classes and became an active member of the Honors College there, but did not really have any focus. That is, until I took an Ethics class. I had not yet been introduced to philosophy as an independent discipline. I read the works of various philosophers, but never knew or understood that they were all part of a special history of thought, a history of asking difficult and profound questions that may or may not have answers. The class challenged me in a way that none before had. I had to be careful and consistent in my thinking even when discussing weighty political and social issues. I had to explain why I held a certain belief or why something was problematic. I grew so much that semester.
I knew that I wanted to continue to grow and felt that philosophy would light the way. I asked around and discovered that UNC was one of the best environments to flourish philosophically. I have had so many beautiful and truly enriching experiences since I started my journey here. James Lesher’s Philosophy and Literature, Susan Wolf’s Philosophical Issues in Gender (Feminism), and Alan Nelson’s Leibniz courses are just a few examples of professors and classes that have facilitated my intellectual and personal growth. For me, philosophy is so much more than an academic pursuit. It taught me how to think. It taught me to confront difficult questions and form more solid foundations for my own beliefs. Most importantly, it gave me the courage to ask questions out loud and the confidence to dispute the answers.
I want to tell potential philosophy majors that philosophy is by no means easy, but that you should not be discouraged. The pursuit is rewarding and the scope is wide. You may be surprised to find that there are philosophers asking the very same questions in the very same ways that you are.