English Personal Statement
English is the subject that I’ve been most passionate about since I was a very young child. Getting my undergraduate degree in English in some way, shape, or form has been my dream for as long as I can remember. One of the first ‘big kid books’ I read was Roald Dahl’s Matilda, which is the reason I am as invested in literature and the English language as I am. Matilda was able to travel away from her ordinary life in the words of books, a trick which I learned by escaping my boring first grade classroom in the words of her story. I absolutely adore studying literature; from novels and stories to plays and poetry, from any and all time periods and genres. Being surrounded by people who share that passion and being taught by professors who have near infinite knowledge to share has long been a dream of mine, and I’m looking forward to diving into university head first.
My love for language and literature greatly influenced the things I pursued throughout my life. In my elementary school, I was an active member of our newspaper for two years. I also participated in our two school musicals we did, due to my love of drama and theatre. Upon moving to a new state my first year of middle school, the first club I joined was our Battle of the Books club, which I participated in for all three years of middle school. We would read all sorts of books from a county-wide list, and those of us who read a certain amount of books on the list and passed the pretest were allowed to participate in the county-wide Battle of the Books. It was this club that furthered my love of literature and introduced me to some of my favorite authors, such as John Green and Louisa May Alcott.
High school was when my love of literature, drama, and writing was really allowed to blossom. One of the classes offered by my school was Twentieth-Century Classics. Our teacher introduced us to incredible authors of that time period — Kurt Vonnegut, Khaled Hosseini, and William Goldman to name a few — and we were also allowed to pick novels of our own to read for different projects. Through this class, I was given the opportunity to read books by many important authors: Vladimir Nabokov, Aldous Huxley, J.D. Salinger, Ray Bradbury, George Orwell, and William S. Burroughs, to name a few. Literature opens doorways and takes us down paths we never could have imagined, and having a class dedicated to these journeys was the best part of my high school experience.
Drama is another one of the biggest influences on my life. Since I was a kid, I loved to write little skits for my sister, cousin, and I to act out for our parents. This translated to high school, where we performed a series of skits called 15 by 30s — fifteen short skits in thirty minutes. We did this three years in a row, and every year the skits I wrote were considered to be the most popular amongst the people in my studio theatre class. Through that class, I was also given the opportunity to work as a stage manager and assistant director for our middle school, perform in class plays and musicals for elementary school students, and study both contemporary and classical plays. Mostly, we studied Shakespeare, learning how to read and understand his dialect and performing monologues from his works. On top of studying those classic works, we read contemporary playwrights such as Jez Butterworth, Tennessee Williams, August Wilson, Sarah Ruhl, and Tom Stoppard. These plays gave me incredible perspective on my life, and greatly helped me in my own writing. Drama also allowed me to work with people of all ages, most notably directing kids between the ages of four and eight in a production of Disney’s Cinderella at the theatre I performed in throughout my middle and high school years.
English literature and drama has had a lasting impact on my life. Being able to pursue my passion at the university level is something that fills me with so much joy, and my future seems brighter by the day.
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I just finished this today and, as a US student, peer review would be greatly appreciated!! King’s College London is my first choice, but I’m also applying to University College London and Royal Holloway.
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