History Personal Statement Example 33
David Hume, the 18th century Scottish philosopher, believed we can only know what we have experienced. His equally influential German contemporary Immanuel Kant believed the opposite - that knowledge is independent of subjective reasoning. What I would hope to gain from a university degree course is the opportunity to see how these arguments affect our interpretation of history. I see university as a place to test ideas and assumptions, and ask questions without necessarily arriving at conclusive answers.
The reason I have chosen history is because I am fascinated by the evolution of society and would like to understand it better. I want to know how the history of one society differs from another - how one era impacts on another, how the source materials for the medieval period are different from the modern era and how these things influences our view of history. I want to know about governments and parliaments, about social movements and the economic fundamentals that govern the lives of individuals and societies.
My studies at school have whetted my appetite for such study, especially where it involves scrutiny of history sources. We have studied the creation of the German empire 1805-1850, Chamberlain's policy of appeasement towards Germany 1933-1939 and the Labour government of 1945-1951, all of which gave me an understanding of the modern make-up of Europe and how the evolution of the European Union was a response to the past.
My studies also gave me a fascinating background for my recent visit to Berlin. My tour of the Checkpoint Charlie Museum, for example, deepened my understanding of the Cold War divisions of post-1945 Europe. Visiting the Reichstag gave me an insight into the political history of Germany, and especially the Nazi era; seeing the pock-marked facade was a vivid reminder of Hitler's misuse of power, bringing to mind Lord Acton's dictum "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men".
My visits to Barcelona, Berlin, Bern, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, New York and San Francisco have opened my eyes to the world and its different cultures and customs, often expressed in architecture, food, language and social interaction. I now realise there is more out there than Scotland. But these practical observations have only taken me so far in my understanding of the complexities and ongoing historical evolution of the world. I see a degree course as a way of developing my knowledge independent of those subjective experiences. I want to explore the way the ideas and innovations of previous generations have shaped the way we live today.
I enjoy cricket. It gives me the opportunity to work in a team and helps me thrive in tactical situations. For the past two summers I have played for my school's first eleven, and have taken the most wickets. Outside school I play for Glasgow Accies Cricket Club, which has brought me into contact with a broad cross-section of people from different social and racial backgrounds. I want to play cricket at university. I would also be interested in playing American football.
If I am given a place at university, I would like to defer entry by a year, to enable me to take an Advanced Cricket Course at Brisbane, Australia (at the Australian Sports Gateway Academy). The purpose of such an extended stay away from Scotland is not merely to improve my cricket skills, but also to gain life experience. I feel it will mature me, and better prepare me to take advantage of everything university has to offer.
This personal statement was written by gclark for application in 2011.