English Literature, Theology and Philosophy Personal Statement Example

I have a keen desire to pursue knowledge for its own sake. Understanding how cultures work and the meanings behind even the most quotidian acts has led to my interest in subjects that have no concrete answers, and instead, give me the possibility to construct and defend arguments in a critical way.

There are few things I enjoy more than reading. To be transported to worlds other than our own, and to be so completely moved by words on a page is a kind of magic I never want to lose. While the cultural settings, times, and places in literature can differ so immensely from our own, they also teach us to draw meaningful connections to our own lives, which I find to be vital if we are to better ourselves as people. In an English Literature essay, I recently explored Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler, a play translated from Danish. I focused on Ibsen’s use of triangular relationships, and the way in which stage directions—amongst other literary devices—shape the audience’s perception of power dynamics, and convey the characters’ susceptibility to manipulation. English Literature has taught me the ability to articulate, to reason, and to communicate. These skills are essential in all aspects of life, whether it be academically, in relationships, or in the workplace.

Theology is an area of interest for me as it can help us to answer the big questions concerning humanity. Although often misunderstood, and seen instead as a barrier, it is valuable to recognise how religion is undeniably a means of bringing people together, and giving life meaning. Despite being agnostic myself, I believe it is imperative to unpack the complexities surrounding the nature and effects of religion. In order to answer the question of what it means to be human from a Judeo-Christian perspective, I conducted a theological research project. This involved analysis of the Old and New Testaments, quotations, and consideration of contradictions present in the belief systems. It was this very project that ignited my passion for religious studies, and the philosophical thinking involved is something I look forward to pursuing.

Studying Philosophy has taught me the significance of asking questions that the everyday person wouldn’t think to consider, such as “what it is to be human?”, and “is morality objective?” Additionally, the study of ethics has been key in my understanding of how these abstract themes can be applied in contemporary society. My World Studies Extended Essay combined my learnings in Philosophy and Literature, as I explored the question: “Can a clone ever be considered to be a person?” Through analysis of Ishiguro’s ‘Never Let Me Go’, I evaluated the moral implications of human cloning in today’s society. I feel that the interdisciplinary approach of my essay will prove to be a solid foundation for my university education, as I improved my skills in deeper thinking and written expression.

I recognise education is not limited to syllabus, as having the appropriate skill sets to approach challenges is crucial to developing one’s learning. Being a choreographer and performer in several of my school’s student-led dance productions taught me the importance of managing the many obligations one has as a leader. The intensive rehearsal schedules, coupled with the tact required in navigating interpersonal complications, taught me how to balance and prioritise my academic and extracurricular demands. These skills will be valuable in a university environment, as they are transferable to many other situations.

The study of humanity and of cultures, particularly when considered from several different angles, excites me greatly. An interdisciplinary degree is one that I know will provide me with the necessary skills to gain rich insights, and further my holistic appreciation of the society I live in. Following my undergraduate degree, I plan to continue my studies in higher education; I wish to pursue a career in academia, so as to share my love for the pursuit of knowledge.

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Author's Comments

I applied to different combinations of the three subjects I've listed. It's been two weeks and I've gotten offers from three out of the five I applied to. I guess that goes to show that you can talk about different subjects that you're not applying for, and I think the key is translating your passion and conveying that you possess the skill-set and the drive that's necessary for uni.

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