Geography Personal Statement
If I said ‘I’ve loved geography since an early age’, I’d be lying. Although I loved our family holidays, which have always been seen as expeditions, I didn’t think it was ‘geography’ until I started using places I’d been to as examples in geography lessons.
From Neolithic settlements at Skara Brae, depopulated villages on Great Blasket and oilrigs in the Cromeray Firth to glaciation and ski tourism in the French Alps. Not forgetting the geographical aspects closer to home, where out of my bedroom window I can see the millstone grit capped Pennines and a glacial overflow channel. On the steep side of the hill sits my secondary school, where I was head girl, above the renovated mills and canal system.
Reading Bill Bryson’s ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything’ struck a chord, not only re-enforcing knowledge taught in class, but bridging the gap between human and physical geography. Although I was previously interested in purely physical geography, the book provoked an interest in the human aspect. It made me realise how big the umbrella of ‘geography’ actually is.
Biology, chemistry and maths have provided a scientific base for my love of geography, and I have been surprised how frequently links between the subjects occur. The breakdown of ozone concerning the hole in the ozone layer and the effects it has on the global climate links geography and chemistry.
I enjoyed all of the topics on the AS geography course, but I took a special interest in populations. China’s well-known anti-natalist policy and the geo-political effects Chairman Mao had on the world’s most populated country were fascinating. Equally as interesting was France’s pro-natalist policy, and the potential problems the country could face if the population doesn’t increase. Outside the AS course, ‘population control’ is a taboo subject in 21st century life. After talking to MEP Chris Davies, I realised the problems faced when the words are mentioned. Many people immediately associate ‘control’ with China’s policy and assume it’s going to be negative.
Visiting Iceland in April was definitely a trip of a lifetime. I was amazed by the vast range of geographical features we saw in such a short period of time. The extensive range of volcanic and geothermal activity caused by Iceland’s unique position, not only on a constructive plate boundary, but also on a hot spot, made for an amazing week. Gale force winds at Gullfoss waterfall, Strokkur geysir with its systematic eruptions, and walking across Myrdalsjokull glacier were definite highlights.
My passion for the outdoors and learning has led to associated skills. I voluntarily teach sailing over the summer, and have taken both my RYA Assistant Instructor award and RYA Powerboat Level 2. I also lifeguard for the local swimming club who I have swam for, for the last 9 years. Both of these have made me aware of responsibility, and the appreciate how different the communication can vary between a nervous 10 year old child, and a middle aged male who’s ‘ready for anything’.
Competitive sailing has taken me to many interesting places. Most recently I travelled to Lyme Regis, situated on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset to compete in class national championships. After a weeks racing I finished 17th, with 2nd youth and 4th female. Earlier this year I was lucky enough to captain a team at the National Junior 12 Hour Race, held in Southport, where we finished first U18 team. This involved organizing a team of 6 people at the venue, as well as pre-event planning such as entering the team, preparing the boat and collecting important legal documents.
I am currently completing my Duke of Edinburgh gold award, to add to the Bronze and Silver awards I have already obtained. Through this, I have also spent a year doing voluntary work at a residential home, working with people who suffer from mental health problems. This opened my eyes to the importance of communication, and the value of good listening skills. It also inspired me to do a sign language course though college.
I look forward to contributing to both the social and academic aspects of university, as well as meeting the challenge of the next level of study, in an area where I can see myself for many years to come.