"A Community of People Who Share Your Passion Will Lift Your Soul": Why I Chose Yale - Maggie McLoughlin, MAR '14

Greetings!  Every year we feature short essays from YDS students explaining why they chose to attend Yale.

Today’s comes from Maggie McLoughlin, MAR in Philosophy of Religion ’14.  Maggie came to YDS from Georgetown University, originally hails from North Carolina, and is an avid runner.  She also submitted one of the best applications we have ever read.  Thanks, Maggie!


As I am in the final stages of interviewing for positions related to ethics and risk governance in finance, I find myself reflecting back to the spring semester of my senior year at Georgetown University, when I was deciding to attend YDS. At the time, I seriously entertained the possibility that I would earn an M.A.R. in the philosophy of religion, move on to a Ph.D. program in philosophy, and then spend the rest of my professional life as a professor.  More than one person counseled me to matriculate at YDS only if I was certain that I wanted a career in the academy. I dutifully interrogated myself about my professional ambitions, and decided, with the naïve earnestness that only a 22-year-old college student on the cusp of graduation can muster, that I was ready to pledge myself to the academy.

All you 22 year-olds who have spent the last four years of your life discovering the delights of the liberal arts and can’t possibly imagine a life that doesn’t involve further study of subjects like Kant, Heidegger, or contemporary linguistic pragmatism, I am addressing myself directly to you:

Do not choose to come to YDS only because you can’t imagine doing anything else. Do not choose to come to YDS only because that is what those who aspire to be professors do. Because I assure you that at some point during your tenure at YDS, you will imagine doing something else.  You may even fantasize about it.  And some of you will in fact go on to careers in teaching, counseling, law, or finance.

Instead, come to YDS because you believe that continuing your love affair with Kant, Heidegger, and contemporary linguistic pragmatism along with discovering Nietzsche, Emerson, and agent-perfective eudaimonism are worthwhile irrespective of whatever career you eventually pursue. Come to YDS because you believe that studying these things in a community of people who share your passion will lift your soul. Come to YDS because you will believe you will be a better person for having done so.  Come to YDS because you want the ethos of the school to leave an indelible mark on you. I owe to YDS—my professors, fellow students, and friends—much of the person I’ve become. I will be forever grateful for that privilege.