As a Leader Advancement Scholar, you can almost always assume that if a class ends with L on your schedule, you are in for something fun. Even if it’s at 8AM. And especially if your professor is Gary Fuller.
PHL 118L focused on moral problems in our society, and being able to view them from an objective view point in order to take a position on an issue based solely on facts. The course Moral Problems was very challenging for me and truly I think everyone should take this course to realize how subjective our views and beliefs are. Seeing things as they are rather than how we want to, or how we believe they should be, is very difficult and intimidating. It is also very hard to realize that maybe you can’t prove your beliefs. Maybe all you can really say is that you think that “because I do”. This is hard because we want to have real, hard evidence behind our beliefs in order to make them valid, but in this class I’ve learned that most moral problems can’t be solved by facts. Most of them can’t be solved by beliefs. And truly, most of them can’t be solved. Everyone has their own morals and beliefs for whatever reason, and we can try to prove them wrong with facts, but somehow it just never works out. Facts aren’t always the answer, and most of the time there isn’t a right answer.
When discussing moral issues with a bunch of leaders, you can imagine it gets heated. We as leaders are passionate and believe what we believe. That is not to say that we do not have open minds, but we are not going to hold back saying what we believe in and arguing for it. PHL taught me that sometimes it’s best to agree to disagree. We can’t tell each other our beliefs are wrong when they can’t be proven. What is important is to stand up for what you believe in, and not change it because someone else tells you it is wrong. Someone will always tell you it is wrong. What is important is to continue to have an open mind as to why others view things as they do and realize that your way may work for you, but maybe it doesn’t work for someone else because of what they have seen and experienced.
We don’t all have to agree on everything, but we do all have to respect each others opinions.
Another thing about PHL that I want to mention… Gary Fuller. Gary is honestly one of my favorite people that I have met on this campus so far. Gary genuinely cares so much about everyone. To Gary it isn’t about the grade you get, it’s about making sure you took something valuable away from everyday in his class. Gary is so smart and caring and hopeful. Gary often would buy students coffee and sit down with them to help them edit any work that they needed in his class. Gary Fuller also invited our entire class to his house for a Christmas party where he served us pie and snacks. After most people had left, I hung around to speak with Gary and he was so open with us. He simply wanted to talk to us about our families and what our lives are like. He wanted to know what it was like to be a college student right now and talked to us about what it was like to be a college student at Oxford when he was there. Gary simply wants to talk and learn. I admire this so much about someone who already knows so much. I think that I learned more from spending a few hours chatting with Gary Fuller about his life than I have in many of my other courses at CMU. I learned that creating relationships with people and learning why they are who they are is much more valuable than any textbook could be.