Philosophers and philosophy students are frequently asked "why is that important?" and "what are you going to do with that?" While these are important questions for everyone (not just philosophers) to answer, it's sometimes helpful to have good, accessible philosophical discussion to point to--discussion that stands up on its own merits.
The New York Times has a philosophy blog called "The Stone," and it regularly recruits important scholars to contribute a blog (unfortunately for you, the writers of this blog are much less prestigious). Additionally, the Times recently hosted an interesting discussion on so called "Experimental Philosophy."
These resources might be helpful for explaining to your family and friends what you're up to in a philosophy class, and who knows, they might open you to questions you never thought you had.