English with Creative Writing Personal Statement
Reading books and creating imaginary worlds were originally forms of escapism to me, a retreat from the structure and routine of my school studies. However, over the years my favourite pastimes and academic career have merged, to form a passion for English and a clear ambition: to become a successful writer. It doesn't matter whether the task is to decipher the ambiguities within Shakespeare's poetry, discuss the pragmatic implications of a transcript, or to compose a piece of music expressing the sentiments of a poem; my enthusiasm for each aspect of my A levels stems from a fascination with the exploration and expression of ideas.
Novels centred on character development as opposed to plot, such as To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee or Anita and Me by Meera Syal have always been my preference, as an author's ability to capture the essence of human nature and provoke the thoughts of readers is what inspires me to write my own material. Furthermore, the way in which readers' perceptions can be shaped through first person narrative, like in Salinger's Catcher in the Rye or Burgess' A Clockwork Orange, is of great interest to me, and is probably the reason behind my decision to study Iain Banks' The Wasp Factory for my coursework, as the warped beliefs of its psychopathic protagonist are what put a controversial, postmodern slant on the traditional gothic genre.
A level Literature has also heightened my appreciation for poetry. Shakespeare's ability to express well-known, somewhat cliched ideas with a renewed poignancy is what I feel sets him apart; in my opinion, the notion that 'true love lasts forever' could not be conveyed more effectively than 'Love is not love/Which alters when it alteration finds'. I am equally immersed in Milton's Paradise Lost, and I find the surrounding debates of various critics almost as intriguing as the intricate beauty of the poem itself. I disagree with William Blake's famous claim that Milton was 'of the Devil's party without knowing it', and am much more in accordance with the reasoning of Stanley Fish.
My main focus in creative writing is prose, yet being the lead singer in a band I also have considerable experience in writing song lyrics. Each week I attend the Sheffield Young Writer's Group in order to cultivate my writing skills and socialize with like-minded people. This has given me increased confidence in my ability, enabling me to share my work with others and participate in an open-mic poetry evening. My perfectionist streak became an issue for me when it began hindering my capability to complete anything, and so to alleviate the problem I participated in National Novel Writing Month, in which the aim is to write 50,000 words of prose in 30 days. The purpose of this colossal challenge is to silence the stifling 'inner critic' and focus on the joy of writing every day, a feat I am proud to have accomplished. I now accept that a first draft cannot be perfect, and that persistence is essential in order to succeed!
I was initially discouraged from taking both English A levels, and so opted for English Language as it contained modules of original writing. I quickly regretted this decision, and thankfully my teachers had enough faith in my ability to allow me to complete the whole Literature A level in one year. However, the two courses I discontinued have still been greatly beneficial; being able to speak a foreign language has been a deeply fulfilling experience, and my art AS level has taught me the discipline of meeting strict deadlines with a heavy workload, as well as being an additional outlet for my imagination. Also, I am learning the AS Literature course solely through private tuition, and as my contact time is limited to one hour a week, this entails a substantial amount of private study and self discipline, preparing me for the demands of university study.
This personal statement was written by Chloliz for application in 2009.
Hello all :)
I understand the stress you guys are going through to write this (mine was submitted on deadline day :P), and seeing others' statements was absolutely invaluable to me... So I thought I'd post this for anyone who's stuck!
I applied for Birmingham, Royal Holloway, East Anglia and Lancaster, got offers from all of them (AAB/ABB), and accepted my place at Birmingham :)
Hope this helps!!
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