American Studies Personal Statement
Barack Obama once said, “I’m so overexposed, I make Paris Hilton look like a recluse.” This epitomises my whole fascination with North America, and why I wish to study it in depth at University. The main aspect of the U.S.A that interests me is their political history. Civil rights, particularly the story of Martin Luther King Jr. and how he fought for freedom despite facing extreme challenges, has inspired me to learn more about the U.S.A, from the Founding Fathers and George Washington, to Barack Obama himself. Currently, I’m reading ‘To Be President, Quest For The White House 2008’ by Ian Leslie, which documents the recent election and is helping me to understand how the American government works.
In GCSE history, I was intrigued with our topics on the Gold Rush, the first cowboys, outlaws, vigilantes and the manipulation of the Native Americans which led to their ultimate demise. In English, we are reading ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood, learning her views on the oppression of women within modern society. Doing further research on dictatorships and the dominance of power such as in the U.S.A has fascinated me greatly. Reading ‘The Big Sleep’ by Raymond Chandler last year was exciting due to the links with 1930’s prohibition America and the corrupt police force; all dramatised as a novel. Studying it allowed me to formulate my opinions about the novel into an analytical argument under a strict deadline.
The American penitentiary system has also become a fascinating insight into modern America to me. From watching ‘The Green Mile’ and Fox news, reading online American news articles and ‘Women On Death Row’ by Mike James, I have started to research the use of capital punishment, particularly the controversy that extended into the early 2000s of the electric chair or ‘Old Sparky’ as it was informally known and whether it was a cruel and unjust punishment.
When I worked in the entertainment department and at the congregation ceremonies of my local university in 2008, it not only started my dream of being a student, but made me consider a future career at a university: maybe in the international office recruiting new students. I have also considered maybe working for the government in a British embassy abroad.
I have been commended for my GCSEs at my awards evening and in particular, my effort and progress in English. During sixth form, I volunteered in the English department with lower school students helping them with their reading and essay writing skills. I feel these commitments prove I have the capabilities to succeed by working hard within my degree.
On top of this, I was presented with the Lion’s Community Service shield, given to highlight the effort I gave towards the school community - as a prefect and chairperson of school council in Year 11. This shows my commitment and determination in trying to improve things wherever I can. Furthermore being a part of the School Council helped me to develop my teamwork and communication skills. I also was given the responsibility to help supervise younger children on a school trip to France. This was daunting, but I improved my leadership and how to deal with situations under pressure.
Outside of school, I am part of a youth radio station. We have taken part in many local events for charity and I have been able to enhance my management skills by planning these events. I would be keen to participate with any voluntary projects within the university community whilst I am studying as, aside from SNYA Radio, I have done charity work raising money over Christmas.
In my spare time, I like to watch sports. I enjoy NFL American Football and NBA Basketball on TV and I am a devoted season ticket holder at Norwich City FC. As well, I really enjoy travelling, which is a factor for choosing the four year course and I am looking forward to experiencing student life at an American university.