Ella Wylynko, third-year Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics (BPPE) student talks about the broad degree and her life as a UWA student.
Occasionally during high school, I would study in Reid Library. Walking through the campus, I found the nature and buildings – especially the Arts buildings – extremely beautiful and exactly what I imagined going to university would look like – picturesque and exciting.
I was very indecisive about where I was going to end up after Year 12, and two weeks before uni started I found out that a bachelor’s degree in politics, philosophy and economics was going to be offered in the coming year. I loved philosophy in high school but didn’t want to be restricted, this degree sounded broad and encompassed my interests, so I decided to stay in Perth and go to uni.
Her favourite aspects of the BPPE
There are things within each discipline I’ve found really eye-opening and interesting to learn about. Feminist epistemology, discussions on traditional ecological knowledge, politics of mass media and learning about rational choice theory have taught me about different ways in which knowledge and information are viewed and disseminated across time.
Units such as Macroeconomics, Rise of the Global Economy and Global Political Economy have all discussed conflicting perspectives on global economics. Learning about topics like the economy from a socialist versus capitalist perspective; neoliberalism; theories of development; why international trade can be viewed as detrimental; and economic growth, degrowth, postgrowth and sustainable development has been fundamental for informing my perspectives and developing critical thinking skills. The unit Global Environmental Politics brought together all my interests, as the unit focuses on the intersection of the environment and geopolitics, which is what I’m hoping to pursue in honours and/or my career.
I have also enjoyed Evolution of Human Rights, which I studied alongside a McCusker internship at the Museum of Freedom and Tolerance, a think-tank that educates people on human rights and aims to develop social cohesion.
Through ACICIS and the New Columbo Grant I was able to go to Jakarta, Indonesia (just before COVID) and work at an NGO Perludem. This was an extremely eye-opening cultural and academic trip that has contributed heavily to my university experience and personal identity.
Right now, I am lucky enough to currently be working at Pracsys, an economic consultancy that analyses the economic and social impact of various projects. I am able to work on projects that concern the environment, the arts, sport, community cohesion and other areas. The work I do brings together my understanding of economics, global systems, urban development and infrastructure, and environmental and sustainability knowledge.
Who should consider a Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics?
To a lot of people politics, philosophy and economics sound like unrelated majors however I would have to say that’s so far from the truth. I believe anyone with an interest in humanities/social sciences, or really any background, would benefit from this degree! Within this degree, you not only gain knowledge on geopolitics and philosophical thought, you learn critical thinking skills, discuss ethics in relation to a variety of topics, and apply logic and mathematics in economics and political science. It provides a theoretical foundation to then be drawn upon if you do law, to documentary making, to journalism! Since you have space for electives, you can also study other areas of interest like I did, taking on units in neuroscience, Indonesian, environmental science, and law.
A day in the life
On Wednesdays, I start my classes at 10am and continue having tutes or seminars until 4pm, followed by a break from 4 to 5pm and then a class from 5 to 6pm. After that, I try to go to the gym and study – sometimes I go out or to events run by the clubs. On Thursdays, I have a class from 9 to 11am and then I usually go to the Venture Space – the Student Innovation Centre on campus.
On Wednesdays I just eat in class and on Thursdays I’ll either bring lunch or buy something from IGA and eat in the Venture Space or on Oak Lawn in the summer with friends. I might also have meetings for the UWA Guild Environment Department, Venture or for an initiative I run called the Sustainable Development Awards.
On Thursdays I have a tute in the afternoon and then will study or go to events. Two clubs that have fun events are the Environment Department, Artists Against Poverty, and the Philosophy Society. Every second Thursday my enviro friends and I go to somewhere in the city for a drink.
More often than not, I go to the city, usually to gigs or just out with friends. Sometimes I have more meetings like for the UNAAWA Environment Committee, or do art, or go to events like the Philosophy Club held an open mic night recently.
I’m on the Student Innovation Centre, Venture, committee as their enviro Project Lead. Venture runs events and workshops, and assists people with projects relating to innovation and the future of work. Mostly I run their environment and sustainability-related programs. Through these, I’m trying to educate and inspire young people to take tangible action to address climate change.
I recently held a panel about ‘Intersectional action on climate change’ and was asked to speak as a youth representative on a panel about intergenerational climate change. I’m also a Grand Challenges Champion for Climate Change.
I also recently participated in a Hackathon to create solutions to address climate change, which we won! I love engaging in uni events like these, as I believe university is the best time to try everything and find out what you are passionate about. It’s the perfect time to fail, mess up, then learn and figure out your who you are.