English Personal Statement (Mature Student)
Having worked on a secure psychiatric unit for two years, caring for many people unable to or precluded from following their dreams due to mental illness, as well as over a decade employed in positions just to pay the bills, I am finally pursuing my dream of becoming a published novelist. I am determined to undertake a degree in English Literature in order to study the classics and increase my understanding of exactly what it is that makes them classics, absorb that knowledge and then utilise it to create my own. To this end I am currently studying an Access Course in English Literature, Psychology, Chemistry and Physics whilst working part-time within a university.
I selected these subjects with a view to improving my writing ability in several ways – I chose Chemistry and Physics to improve my knowledge of the universe from the smallest atom to the largest supernova and how they work, so that the worlds I build are as real and credible as I can make them. I chose Psychology to gain deeper understanding of people specifically but living beings generally, in order to populate my worlds with more complex, believable characters. I chose English Literature because I adore the English language and its numerous peculiarities and foibles, and its myriad ways to - for example – describe a simple wooden chair as if it were created of pure magic; but mainly because a good novel draws the reader in to such an extent it is possible to create emotional attachment to fictional characters, and can stay with the reader for an entire lifetime. I wish not just to lose myself in exceptional fiction; I want to create works that immerse readers into those creations such that they feel my characters are family and friends; my worlds are places they go to escape for a little while, where they feel alive and joyful; creations that live on long after I shuffle off this mortal coil and am forgotten; though my name be writ in water, mayhap my writing be in marble.
Of the current studies, I have particularly enjoyed reading Jane Eyre again, as the first time over a decade ago I did not comprehend the societal and cultural circumstances in which it was written. Reading Jane Eyre again during the access course has allowed me to grasp it in a much fuller manner and given me a deeper appreciation of exactly what Bronte achieved in creating this work. I anticipate the poetry section greatly as well, as I particularly enjoy the poignancy and feeling of World War 1 poets such as Wilfred Owen. I await the module on King Lear eagerly, for Shakespeare is the father of modern literature and studying him can only improve not simply the pupils’ writing, but also the understanding of our literary roots and the sheer beauty it is possible to create using nothing but words.
George Bernard Shaw said “Youth is wasted on the young”, which I have often heard misquoted as “Education is wasted on the young”. After working within a university for six years, I disagree with the latter, with one exception – myself. Diagnosed last year with ADHD and Asperger’s, the understanding and insight I have since gained, and the support now available, I am finally in a position to reach for my potential and so benefit in full from a degree, whereas had I studied for a degree in my youth, I would not have appreciated it or performed as well as I am capable.
I am further motivated by my three children – spending my life employed in positions I do not enjoy simply to pay bills is a very poor example to set for them. I cannot tell them with any integrity just how important it is to find something you love and chase that with every fibre of your being if I am unwilling to do it myself.
The basis of this statement is that I write and I want to write novels for a living.