History & International Relations Personal Statement
‘Life must be lived forwards, but can only be understood backwards.’ Here, Kierkegaard defines why I want to study History.
I have always been curious about how the world works, how the past has shaped society and why cultures develop differently. My ambition is to learn as much about the world and its development as possible; I want to know how societies have evolved and what influences their traditions and way of life.
When I hear of conflict between countries, I wonder how past events have affected the relations between them and what has caused them to act in such a violent way.
I believe that studying History and International Relations will greatly enhance my knowledge and understanding of the world. An understanding of History is vital to progress in the future and this is one of the main reasons for my desire to study past events.
My interest in History and International Relations has been developed mainly through my education. Studying History at GCSE and A level has led me to conclude that we cannot be prepared for what is to come if we don’t recognise and learn from the past.
Through studying History at A level, I have learnt, not just about the past, but the skills of analysis, how to infer sources and how to explore the diversity of historical opinion. I am also studying English Literature and Psychology; all three subjects have given me transferable skills which have aided me in my studies.
English literature has allowed me to further my skills of analytical writing and benefit my ability to communicate ideas effectively. I have always been a passionate reader but the subject has inspired me to explore other genres and texts.
English literature has introduced me to writers that I otherwise wouldn’t have discovered, such as Mathew Lewis and William Makepeace Thackeray. In Psychology there is a great deal of analysis, research and evaluating; skills which will be very useful whilst studying History and International Relations.
Psychology has also taught me how to write a reasoned argument, and identify relevant points whilst avoiding a biased viewpoint. Studying A Levels has given me vital practise at meeting important deadlines and, due to the subjects being essay based, I now feel I can express myself fluently.
In terms of extracurricular activities, I have aided younger students in the development of their reading skills through a paired reading scheme set up by the school. I was also one of few sixth formers chosen to train as a Peer Mentor; a role which requires commitment as I meet with a younger student each week to discuss any issues they have.
Both these roles have improved my communication, organisation and appeal to my responsible nature. Furthermore, it has given me the ability to balance various commitments. I was elected sports captain for my house in school; this means I am responsible for the organisation and running of sports teams and events within the house, as well as participating.
During my time at Queens’ I have been involved in many debates which has enabled me to discuss current issues, and allowed me to reflect on the opinion of others.
I am a dedicated swimmer and often train up to four times a week, for the last twelve years. I have also previously volunteered at the local rainbows, for two years, initially as part of the Duke of Edinburgh scheme, but due to great enjoyment, I continued after the scheme ended. This year I attended the ‘Battle of Ideas’ where many aspects and issues in society were discussed.
These debates and talks only heightened my interests and encouraged me to further my knowledge of the world and societies around me.
History is an extremely relevant topic which, when studied, provides us with a framework of how to react to situations positively by learning from our predecessor’s mistakes when dealing with international affairs. For this reason, I would positively relish the opportunity to study History and International Relations at degree level.