English Personal Statement

Initially it was my mother’s enthusiasm for books which fostered my love of literature. English has provided me with a creative outlet for my imagination and with visits to the theatre and libraries I have been enveloped in a culture of literature. Additionally, an inspirational teacher, who realised my early talent for creative writing was pivotal, as it was her encouragement that inspired me to publish articles for the school newspaper. I am very keen to study an English degree as it is a subject that allows for critical free thinking. Literature provides me with an opportunity for escapism and is also essential in communicating art, history and events as they occur. I believe that literature is important for its power to persuade, entertain, enlighten and bring about both change on a personal level and also on the world stage.

I am particularly interested in feminist literature because . I have studied the work of Jean Rhys, Angela Carter and poems by Duffy. This wider reading has developed my knowledge and improved my oral and written skills. I have attended lectures on novels such as Wuthering Heights and The Bloody Chamber which helped to broaden my cultural and historical knowledge. Attending these lectures has improved my critical analytical skills and has helped me to study texts with even greater scrutiny. In order to refine my aptitude in communication and political awareness I joined a debating society, in which we debated current affairs and school policies. Participating in debates and public speaking has developed my own political ideas and improved my confidence and ability to introduce informed, rational, coherent lines of argument. I also subscribe to The English Review whose articles are a great source for deeper thinking which enables me to develop my own ideas.

Studying A-level English Literature has improved my time management skills as the copious assignments I am given means I have to prioritise and make detailed plans to meet strict submission deadlines. The coursework element has helped to improve both my proof-reading and editing skills. It has also improved my ability to be reflective and to think more broadly and has also helped me develop into an independent and inquisitive learner. The course has widened my reading base to encompass a wider range of genre and include translated texts from different cultures. Studying A-level Religious Studies has helped contextualise texts as my understanding of Biblical scripture has shown me how religion influences literature. My study of Sociology has enhanced my maturity of thought and taught me how to debate and to construct theory based arguments.

Work experience placement at a primary school and an additional placement at a rehabilitation ward have also helped to improve my time management skills and also gave me independence, not only in terms travelling but also in decision making. The primary school placement gave me the opportunity to participate in English classes and interact with the children, which improved my communication and leadership skills. In school I have volunteered to provide English tutoring to younger students providing help in analysing texts, poetry and literacy devices.

Working with children who were below their target grades I was conscious that the ability to prioritise students’ learning was vital to their success and this skill has also enabled me to prioritise to ensure I satisfy the demands of my own commitments. As a Form Leader my duties involve monitoring the productivity of Form Time and the well-being of sixth form students which has helped me gain confidence not only with my peers but with the teaching staff in feedback sessions.

I am a deeply driven individual who is passionate about English. I would commit to giving my time, skills and determination to the university and would embrace culture, both academically and socially.

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