Archaeology and Medieval History Personal Statement
When I was two years old my family relocated from the New World, Canada, to the Old, and since then I have journeyed to places as far off as Rome, Egypt, and Thailand, among many others. Everywhere I travelled brought upon me a new wave of fresh fascination; not only in the cultural differences I noticed, but in the circumstances, traditions, and history that shaped them. Returning home, I became curious about what had moulded my own culture as I knew it. This was the beginning of a lifelong interest in material culture and historical heritage.
This fascination soon developed into a passion - particularly when studying the medieval period. I wrote my IB Extended Essay on how the changing socio-political climate in England from the 11th to 15th centuries led to linguistic and sociolinguistic changes. Having chosen a subject that fascinated me, I found myself going beyond the requirements, organizing visits to the British Library and studying contemporary manuscripts. I had to familiarize myself with Middle English - and to some degree Old English and Old French - and my study of the original manuscripts was one of my most inspiring educational experiences to date.
Soon I found that it was not enough to know about the past, I wanted also to learn where our knowledge of the past had come from. It was this curiosity that led me to an interest in archaeology. Thus when the school nominated me for a travel fellowship (a grant given to a student who most showed "courage and strength as an individual, genuineness, generosity, and high personal and academic standards") I proposed to travel to Romania to work on an archaeological dig. In presenting me with the award, the judges praised my good planning and organization, and enthusiasm for the subject.
I travelled to Romania in August 2007 to join an excavation of a Transylvanian castle dating from the 14th century. During my time there I received hands on experience of archaeological techniques, firsthand information from experts regarding practice and theory, and a wonderful look at the history and culture of a country to which I had never before travelled. Although I had feared I might find the work tedious, I enjoyed every second of it. The experience heightened my interest in archaeology, and travelling alone helped me develop my maturity, organization, and independence.
My interests go beyond the historical, however. I have a strong creative side, and study drama both in school and as an extracurricular activity, producing and acting in a number of productions. I also play the piano, having taken it up at the age of five, and enjoy composing pieces of all genres. I was recently commissioned by the arts department of my school to compose a score for a production of Animal Farm. On the other end of the academic spectrum, I am adept at logic and rational thinking, coming top in my school for two years running in the UK Intermediate Mathematics Olympiad. I think that such a variety of understanding is useful in allowing me a broad approach to problem solving and research.
My main goal in attending university is to eventually advance my understanding to such a degree where I could teach the subject at university level. As part of my Diploma Programme, I frequently participate in community service projects in which I help senior citizens learn how to use computers, and teach drama to children with disabilities, and in doing so have developed better interpersonal skills and a strong teaching technique. These have been furthered by my experience as a counsellor at a summer camp in Canada, and I am certain these skills would work as an advantage should I ever teach history or archaeology myself.
This personal statement was written by thomasg for application in 2008.