Jessica Gracik


Hometown: Algonquin, Illinois
Majors: Philosophy and Political Science
Minor: Classics
Study Abroad: Rome, Italy
Best Adjective to Describe You: Passionate

DSA’s are nominated by departments or programs. Jessica knows firsthand what it’s like to be a Philosophy major. She is available via e-mail and at special campus events to answer your questions. DSAs do not replace academic advisors or faculty, but serve as an additional resource at K.

You can reach Jessica at

In 20 words or less, what is the best thing about being part of this department?
“Philosophy happens when life breaks down!” This department – the professors, students, and TAs – prioritize the individual to provide new ways of seeing the world, your peers, and yourself. The material you learn here helps you situate yourself within the world. You will take the lessons you learn with you for years to come.

What is your advice to first years and sophomores about getting connected to this department?
Take a 100-level course and go to office hours with your TA. All the TAs absolutely LOVE philosophy and will talk about it all day if they could. They also know how dense the readings can be and are more than happy to break things down into much simpler terms.

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned at K?
You have to try everything to know what you like! You may have interests and passions you never would have expected, and you may hate things you thought you would enjoy. This is the time to try and fail, you would rather figure out you don’t want to be a doctor by shadowing one in your undergrad than by doing it in med school.

What has been your favorite class at K? Why?
Existentialism and Film. I took this course my first year and then was the TA for it my junior year. I learned to love philosophy in this class and continue to turn back to the readings in the summer and when I have breaks. This course changed my perspective on my life and history and provided me with the tools to confront my own agency. Even if you don’t like philosophy, this course will teach you something you remember forever.

How have you taken advantage of the open curriculum or experienced breadth in your education?
The open curriculum allowed me to double major, have a minor, and still take many courses in other subjects. Some of the most interesting classes I have taken have been in things I never would have expected. Even better, those courses have added significantly to my understanding of my major and situating my knowledge in a wider framework. It also allowed me to successfully avoid taking classes I was absolutely not interested in.

What experiential education opportunities have you participated in?
After my first year I had an internship in Washington, D.C. I have worked on political campaigns all three years, I was the KCCSR Secretary my junior year, and I was a TA.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?
I hope to go to Law School after I graduate.