English and History Personal Statement

When studying English and History I find that I have the freedom to explore different interpretations. I have always struggled with the concept of the definitive answer; I feel that every subject is subjective and as a result I find it hard to confine myself to one single idea.

This ideology has led me to choose these subjects to further study. Both subjects allow for multiple interpretations; as no one piece of literature is ever experienced in the same way by each reader and historians are forever debating and revising their opinions of historical evidence. Having this variety in a subject really fascinates me; I love to explore different meanings and evaluations.

However, I also feel it important that when studying literature I am aware of the context from which the author was inspired to write; I think that this can lead to a greater appreciation of the text.

Having a father who is fascinated by history has allowed me to expand my knowledge and gain a better understanding of the subject. I have been privileged to visit a number of historic sites, however none were as poignant as the visit we made to the Somme battlegrounds. To stand where so many people had died and to visit the graves of such brave men was incredible.

This sparked my interest in modern history, in particular the world wars. ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’, probably one of the most well known war poems by Wilfred Owen, highlights the human cost of war as his own experiences bring the harsh reality of war to life. I think it is hard not to be moved by such a poem.

The work of Wilfred Owen and his contemporaries let us learn of the terrible circumstances faced during the war. Their many poems and stories all differ greatly as no one person will have faced the same set of experiences. The fact that one historical period can be relayed so differently depending on individual encounters truly excites me.

Currently I am studying Psychology, it has helped me to develop the writing and research skills needed for a degree.

It is of great benefit to be able to apply a Psychological reading to a text or identify psychological reasons behind historical events. At the same time studying History has allowed me to learn of the events which have shaped our modern world, knowing about the past helps to put the present into context. Studying 1920’s America I found it fascinating to see the similarities between that era and the era in which we live.

Having the opportunity to explore a vast array of texts during my study of English has deepened my passion for the subject. It has become increasingly apparent to me that English is such a broad subject and I am currently only ‘scratching the surface’ of what this subject has to offer.

I enjoy a number of extra-curricular activities alongside my studies at school. Recently I started work as a carer for adults with severe learning difficulties.

I have also benefited greatly from volunteering with the ‘Reading Buddies’ programme within school and have had the opportunity to volunteer with a business forum for local businesses, I was recently invited to attend an awards evening for successful business women. In addition I help at a local youth group and volunteer with autistic children at a club within my school. These opportunities have helped me to efficiently organise my time, preparing me for a degree.

I find it fascinating to consider the influence of the media in our contemporary world and the power of words to shape popular opinion.

This has been shown most recently during this year’s general election in which the media was key in the election campaigns.

This interest has led me to aim towards a career as a journalist. I think that my interest and knowledge in both the modern world and the historical events of the past are essential to such a career, as is a wide understanding and appreciation of English. A combined honours degree in English and History will be an important step towards my desired career.

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This personal statement was written by l_gamila for application in 2011.

l_gamila's Comments

Looking back at my statement there is a lot that I would have changed but I still got all my 5 offers from it. Hope it helps someone, I know its hard trying to write a statement for a combined honors degree.

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