Anthropology Personal Statement
My fascination with human behaviour and the motivations behind human actions has existed for most of my adult life, to determine a cause however I would accredit this to the voluntary work I participated in with Crisis Single Persons Homeless charity. I was truly astonished by the level of openness I was privy to regarding causations of homelessness. It was an emotive and enriching experience as it was important to quickly establish 'trust-boundaries' and build a rapport which would fall outside of typical social norms one would expect to engage in when forming new relationships. There were a number of socio-economic factors I identified that led to the homelessness of individuals such as a breakdown in relationships, immigration, decline of mental or physical health, employment and more often a combination of all of the above. I
was adamant from then on to continue to try to make a difference in this world, to raise awareness of and support those who are marginalised, discriminated against, stigmatised and misunderstood. An Anthropology degree would develop my understanding of people culturally through ethnographic research and natural observation. This would enable me to move into the fields of employment I am most passionate about such as policy writing for charity and non-governmental organisations or in the area of international development.
To develop more of an understanding of immigration issues I attended an intimate talk hosted by the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics given by a young refugee academic from Zimbabwe who fled due to poverty and the loss of her parents. She spoke of her life in South Africa; the socio-political struggles, bureaucracy when seeking refuge in the UK, and of becoming a member of an ethnic minority. I also attended a lecture at London School of Economics & Political Science, by Professor Paul Collier on immigration and multiculturalism in the 21st Century which I found very informative although rather euro-centric. I believe that in order to successfully support individuals and aid their future, one must first attempt to fully understand where they have come from.
Adolescent school life was enjoyable for me and I was mostly an inquisitive and keen student, and enjoyed participating in many additional activities and responsibilities that encompass school life. My academic journey was disrupted at a young age due to a challenging home life, as an adult however I am now in a stable and secure position to welcome the challenges academia has to offer. My passion lies in Anthropological studies, with the interdisciplinary aspects of social and biological anthropology being of most interest, having discovered these through personal research into the subject. I find theories of our evolution most intriguing and am especially excited by research discoveries of human ancestry in Africa. When researching sociological theories for a short essay on ethnic identity i.e. how one identifies themselves as part of an ethnic group, I noted how crude the concepts of 'race' and 'ethnicity' are; expressed in Ossorio's 2003 findings where she argues there are no genetic markers that are in everybody of a particular race. The idea that these are socially constructed labels to classify humans is not something I had previously considered.
As a mature student I am dedicated and wholly committed to developing myself academically. I am now eager to really push myself in this environment, something which I am confident I am capable of achieving if given the right opportunity and in the best environment. I am a self-motivated and tenacious individual, and have always been able to adjust well into most environments. It is these qualities that have enabled me to succeed in the work place and which I intend to bring into my university experience.
This personal statement was written by Marisa for application in 2014.
Marisa's university choices
London School of Economics
The University of Manchester
School of Oriental and African Studies
University College London
Green: offer made
Red: no offer made
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