English Personal Statement
Growing up reading Roald Dahl, I saw elements of myself in Matilda, as ever since I can remember, I have loved reading. My passion for English could be seen by those around me, as a child, having taught myself to read and write by the time I was 4 years old, and there was never any doubt that I would go on to pursue a career in English. Studying an A-level in English Language and Literature, I have been able to refine this interest into an analytical approach, studying the texts that I have been given in a deeper context and I have been fascinated by the way that the syntax and choice of words can create such varied meanings, feelings and effects on the reader, whilst also determining the way a character or setting is portrayed. I have also been interested in the way that the culture of the period can influence the themes and style of the writing produced at the time, such as Eliot's 'Silas Marner', which was written during the Industrial Revolution, and has a heavy theme of the impact of industrialisation throughout.
Having started with Dahl, I later progressed to more mature novels, with my favourites being Nabokov's 'Lolita' and Wilde's 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'. I loved 'Lolita' because, while the content is extremely disturbing, Nabokov somehow influences the reader to empathise with Humbert, through humour and a first person narrative. 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' enthralled me due to the fact that Wilde wrote about the idea of 'celebrity', and how much it could change a person, long before its time. What I also like about both of these novels is that the main characters aren't likeable people, which I found to be equally true in Browning's poetry, due to his perturbing dramatic monologues. I have also enjoyed reading Austen's novels, as she constantly surprises the reader, challenging us when we believe we are most certain. Out of the plays that I have read, Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' grabbed my attention the most, as it focuses on the darker side of love, but still manages to be humorous. I was also entertained by the ironic ending, where Hermia and Lysander are watching a play about Pyramus and Thisbe, who, like them, are unfortunate lovers, yet they fail to realise this.
I plan on working in Journalism after I leave university. I would relish the challenge of researching and writing up stories for a deadline, and know that I would also love working in a fast-paced environment. I have had work experience at Sugar magazine and The Independent, which allowed me to see the difference between magazine journalism and compact journalism. At Sugar, I was given the opportunity to write an article for the magazine, and also able to go out on to the street and research the target market, while at The Independent, I was able to write a horror film review, which went in the newspaper, and was also able to research for articles, including upcoming interviews. In school, I have become sub-editor of The Weekly Affair, the Sixth Form newspaper, which I have written articles for. This has given me experience with working in and managing teams with a tight deadline. It has also given me valuable writing experience.
In year 9, 100 children applied, and 50 children (myself included) were chosen to go on a three-month school trip to Israel, where we lived on Kibbutz Lavi and studied with Israeli children. As well as studying with Israelis, we also taught them English once a week, which helped me to explain the language clearly and confidently. It also gave me experience with working with new cultures and helped me to become more confident.
On the whole, I believe I am a hard-working, sociable and committed student, and that university is the perfect environment for me to develop as a person. I have gained a large amount from my A levels, in terms of knowledge and feel that I have the drive and ability to enjoy and succeed in this course, and I am looking forward to broadening my reading horizons further.
I think the Universities must have really liked my personal statement, as my grades aren't that brilliant, yet I got 4/5 offers, with one being higher than what I was actually predicted.