Geography Personal Statement (Gap Year)
My decision to study Geography stems from an evolving curiosity in the world's complex relationships, both human and physical. The relevance and dynamic nature of the subject never ceases to impress.
Investigating soil properties in local farmland confirmed this. As part of my coursework, I sampled a catena within a steep, yet waterlogged field to determine soil type, nutrient and pH levels. This was a perfect opportunity to apply my knowledge in a practical and beneficial way, as not only did I improve my fieldwork techniques but was also able to share my data with the landowner, who altered his land usage to suit.
This illustrated Geography's pertinence to everyday lives. I found my research on Japan's ageing and declining population to be particularly intriguing. As a nation at the forefront of the next stage of demographic transition, it falls to geographers to analyse and adapt to the socio-economic changes such as increased dependency, lower GDP, and a strained workforce. My case studies and fieldwork have shown me how Geography can not only explain the world around us but is instrumental in creating sustainable resolutions for the future.
After my higher exams, I attended the Scottish Space School alongside the top STEM students in the country. The week-long residential programme at Strathclyde University was a unique opportunity to learn from industry experts and even astronauts. As a team leader, I came to appreciate the value of open and clear communication, and the positive impact it has on problem-solving; skills vital to becoming a successful geographer.
I have always been busy with extracurricular pursuits. I competed nationally for my school ski team and at cross country races, requiring discipline with training and good time management. I assisted the chess club at lunch, alongside responsibilities as a prefect and house captain. I am eager to share my array of interests through societies and contribute to the university.
For the last two years, I have been living and working abroad. At seventeen I cycled solo across the Swiss Alps, where I was fascinated by the glacial processes which shaped the landscape. The trip fostered independence and ultimately inspired me to apply for Geography. Last year I completed a winter season in the Alps working as a ski technician, followed by a summer season in Greece, where I led a team of eight staff as a restaurant manager.
I am currently in France working for a high-end chalet company as a host. I work very hard to meet the high standards expected of me. My wide experiences since leaving home have taught me the valuable life lessons of being adaptive, intuitive and resilient in challenging situations. I am also fluent in Swedish, Norwegian and always improving my French.
Through determination and self-motivation, I have been able to break into professional photography, working with some of the world's best skiers with Red Bull in addition to an ongoing marketing project with Berghaus. I am fully responsible for clients, finances and paperwork. I aspire to raise awareness of geographical issues such as deforestation and climate change through photography.
Next summer I will be volunteering for two months in Iceland, assisting with conservation efforts. This will involve trail mapping, survey work, and data collection as well as a special reparation project in areas near to the 2010 Eyjafjallajokull eruption. I look forward to applying my geographical skills and witnessing firsthand the impact the event had locally on the people and landscape.
I believe the experience and life skills gained through school, work and travel have prepared me well for all aspects of student life. A degree in Geography will allow me to further understand the world's physical and cultural diversity, and provide a strong foundation for my future. I am fully committed and excited to embark upon a challenging and stimulating degree in Geography.
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Try finding time to do a personal statement whilst on a ski season... between skiing and going out and working I had my work cut out! All Gucci now though!
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