In the following Q-and-A, senior Rebecca Nolan Hays shares some of her experiences as a philosophy major.

Hays is a nontraditional student majoring in Philosophy with a minor in religious studies at Illinois State University. She transferred to Illinois State after earning her Associate of Science from Parkland College in Champaign. She also attended Heartland Community College when she first decided to start working toward a degree.

Hays started out as a computer science major with a music minor but things evolved over the years she has been in college. Hays is married with two children, 13-year-old Trystan and 3-year-old Lydia. “When I have free time from homework, housework, and child rearing, which isn’t much, I enjoy listening to and playing music, playing video games, reading sci-fi/fantasy and working on my Chevy Z-24 me and my husband, Keaton, are rebuilding,” Hays said. “I also enjoy gardening, cooking and composting.”

What have you enjoyed most about being a philosophy major at ISU?

What I enjoy most about the Philosophy program here at ISU is the faculty. I have never seen so many awesome teachers gathered in one place in all my life. I love that you are always being pushed to think to the next level, to peel back that next layer of any issue and there’s always another layer to explore.

If you had to take one—and only one—philosophy book or article to a desert island, which one would it be?

When I was younger I probably would have said Nietzsche but nowadays I get more from Plato, if I have to choose just one let’s say Republic.

Do your friends and family know that you study philosophy?

Everyone knows I am a philosopher, and no one is surprised even if there’s some shaking of heads. I think most people agree that wherever it lands me it has to be better than my former career of retail management.

What other majors did you consider?

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a doctor, but at this rate I’d be retirement age before I was ready to set up practice. I’m not sure I’m cut out for it anyway; I’m too empathetic. I was a music major and a computer science major previously. I’ve also considered anthropology, sociology, astrophysics, geology, psychology. I think that’s why I love philosophy, because I can incorporate all of my interests into my studies.

What are you plans after graduation?

I have lots of plans after graduation, but I have no idea which ones will actually happen. I would really like to move to Germany to pursue my master’s in transcultural studies at the University of Heidelberg but that might not be practical. I might just start working again for a bit or I might take some time to help my husband start his own business. My ‘action plan’ is to ‘roll the dice.’ I’m going to fill out six applications, some for jobs, some for graduate school, and see which one comes back to me.