History Personal Statement Example 41

History is elemental in understanding and furthering most aspects of life; without studying the past we cannot expect to move forward, and in this respect I believe history to be the most universal subject. My interest was evoked by a trip to the Somme battlefields at the age of 13, where witnessing the remnants led me to appreciate not only the importance of history but also the lasting effects of war in shaping modern society.

Through my studies I have learnt to recognise the significance of warfare throughout history, whether through the impact of the Zulu War on the British Empire in Africa, or the global effects of twentieth century conflicts such as the two World Wars. This has helped me to understand that past events are only part of what makes up the importance of history, and that the constant research and investigation into why events of historical significance occurred is equally key. At degree level, I hope to expand my knowledge across a broader range of topics such as medieval history as well as intensifying my avid interest in the modern history I have studied thus far.

My A-level studies have only served to further my ardour for history; my study of Psychology has helped me to understand the impetus behind historical conflicts. In order to further my own knowledge on the topic I read Philip Zimbardo’s The Lucifer Effect, a book I found highly intriguing for its explanations of the controversy at Abu Ghraib and the ties with Milgram’s proposals concerning the cooperation of German civilians with the Nazis during the Holocaust. Jon Ronson’s The Psychopath Test, helped me to understand people’s reasons for their actions, and as such has also furthered my comprehension of the complexities of war. Therefore, I feel that psychology has also allowed me to view the past from alternative perspectives, a skill I have found vital in discerning flaws and strengths in historical arguments.

Through studying English Literature I have found it captivating to traverse the ways in which literature both portrays and reflects history, with the evolution of the modern novel being catalysed by societal changes. The depiction of warfare in literature such as Deighton’s Winter: A German Family 1899-1945 I has deepened my appreciation of the importance of war, and the idea that every decision made during wartime, no matter how insignificant it may seem, plays a huge role in determining the state of society.

As a result of my scholarly dedication, I have been invited to join my school’s advanced English group, where I have furthered not only my knowledge but also my enjoyment of literature through the exploration of poetry such as that found in Sylvia Plath’s Ariel and novels such as Mikhail Lermontov’s A Hero of Our Time. I found Lermontov’s work to be enthralling due to its unusual structure and exploration of both the Byronic hero and clear influence over later authors such as Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy.

Beyond my academic studies I have also enjoyed volunteering at a history centre in my local area, assisting tours of a historical site and contributing to research into the centre’s background as a ‘casual ward’ used to house vagrants in the early twentieth century. This introduction to the world outside of school has also helped me to value the importance of making history accessible. I have strived to further this idea through two work placements as a teaching assistant at a primary school, helping to introduce children aged 4-7 to basic learning, and in a recent role as a tutor for a pre-GCSE student, focusing on improving their understanding of history alongside core subjects. Through these I have developed a greater appreciation for history and a desire to take my own academic studies further.

I believe that undertaking a history undergraduate course will enable me to further progress my already keen interest for the subject, strengthen my analytical skills and satisfy my own aspiration to continue learning.

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This personal statement was written by rosiewallis for application in 2012.

rosiewallis's Comments

Birmingham: Offer -- AAB
Bristol: Rejection.
Exeter: A*AA
Leeds: AAA
York: AAA


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