Sunday, 31 August 2014

Personal Statement

A/N: Personal statement written for my UCAS application way back in 2006.

My Personal Statement 2006

History has always fascinated me, ever since I was first able to grasp the concept of a world before I was a part of it. The study of history has enabled me to make better sense of the world around me: understanding the roots of current practices and beliefs helps when passing judgements on their continued relevance. For this reason I am keen to continue studying history. The past constantly impacts on the present and the future, being able to interpret past events can change the future as our preconceptions are questioned and, ultimately, changed as new evidence comes to light and existing evidence is interpretated in new ways. I believe that such an approach is a firm foundation for good citizenship.     

I have enjoyed my A-level history course, in particular the way in which it interlinked with my other courses. For example the reshaping of the British political system in the 1830s, which we studied in British history helped make clear the workings of the 21st century parliament we were studying in politics. Another example of this overlap is how sociology helped me to comprehend how Russian serfs could accept their position in society whilst studying Tsars Alexander II and Nicholas II. This has made me realise that a multi-disciplinary approach is most beneficial when studying history. I look forward to being able to apply skills learnt throughout my school career at university.     My current courses have prepared me well for university, amongst other things helping me to become accustomed to carrying out research independently, as well as working as part of a group for presentations. A summer school I attended at Bristol University further reassured me that university life would suit me and that a relatively broad course such as modern history would provide an intellectual challenge as well as offering a great deal of variety.     

Outside school I enjoy attending historical lectures and events within the local community. My particular historical passion is for the history of fashion and the changing social attitudes that surround this topic. I especially enjoy visiting exhibitions and re-enactments to see the fashions up close, for example I recently enjoyed a day out at the Llandrindod Wells Victorian festival where many people were dressed in period costume. In addition I have long been interested in WW2, in particular the British home front and the German youth movements. I found the book ‘Hitler’s Children’ by Guido Knopp very enlightening for it’s information on peoples happy memories of the Hitler Youth and the BDM, as too often the focus is on the minority who fought against the movements.     

I am an avid reader, on topics historical and otherwise, and so relished the opportunity to get involved with the ‘Buddy Reading’ scheme, this involved working closely with a younger pupil to improve their reading skills. In addition work placements at a school and a nursery have convinced me that after completing my degree I want to enter the teaching profession.     

My other interests include languages, something that I’m hoping to continue with at university, music, miniatures, folklore and socialising with friends. In my spare time I also have a part-time job at a local hospital, which has greatly increased my confidence and improved my communication skills.     

In conclusion I am looking forward to having the opportunity to widen my historical knowledge, improve my interpretative skills and to getting the most out of my time at university.

As examples of my school level essays, check out my coursework on the Great Reform Act of 1832, and a piece on the History of the Hitler Youth. Or, there are my essays from my time at Cambridge University.

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