Sociology/Social Policy personal statement
Since starting my A-Level in sociology, I've realised it is a subject I can easily grasp and immerse myself in, and that by pursuing courses based around society, social changes and policies at university, I can further understand and appreciate the inner workings of society and how it can be adapted to meet the ever-increasing diversity of the country we live in. I am an open-minded person, which I think is key to being an observer of society, as it enables me to see both the strengths and criticisms of any theories I encounter, as I am not 'tied' to any specific standpoint.
So far I have studied Families and the Household, Education, and Crime and Deviance in my A-Level course. I have found these topics interesting, especially analysing family demography, however, I would have liked the opportunity to learn about sociological views of health, the body and mental illnesses, as I am intrigued by how mental illnesses are perceived by sociologists, and how attitudes have varied as society has changed. The psychological explanations for mental disorders are well known, however I think sociology would offer a more realistic explanation as to why mental health disorders are such a taboo subject, even in the 21st Century - a time when 25% of us will experience one. Feminists may argue that anorexia and depression are perceived as "women's make-believe issues" like they were in Victorian times, so our patriarchal society would be reluctant to draw attention to these problems, whereas Marxists could argue that anyone with a mental illness is unable to work and contribute to the gain of capitalists, therefore lacking any significant function. I also think the coalition's input to society offers a rich seam of opportunities for research that I'd like to explore - are they really improving our country?
I regularly read 'Sociology Review', newspapers and books to expand on my knowledge. One of my favourite books is 'Queuing for Beginners' by Joe Moran, which details the changes in culture behind a typical British day since the end of the Second World War. I am currently reading 'Freakonomics' by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner which was recommended as wider reading for economics, but is also an interesting read from a sociological perspective, as Levitt's argument that the reduction in the crime rate is due to the legalisation of abortion is unconventional, yet interesting. I have found the subject of Economics relevant to sociology as it links in well to Marxist perspectives and has also helped improve my essay writing and analytical skills. In June 2012 I went to a 'Discover Social Anthropology' day at Manchester University, where I attended seminars covering a wide range of topics. I found this experience to be highly useful as it offered me an insight into alternative pathways to studying societies.
I have always looked to pursue an active role beyond the classroom. I represent my college at open days and events as a student ambassador; something I am proud of, and would like to do at university. During secondary school, I undertook a week long placement at the local library, where I was responsible for organising books, assisting customers with finding information and ensuring the library met safety standards. I believe the experiences gained from working at the library helped me get my summer job at WHSmith. I was based at the local airport, enabling me to interact with people from many cultures and backgrounds, giving me an insight into their beliefs and ways of life. For instance, I met a group of Buddhists who were embarking on a pilgrimage to India; seeing how much this event meant to them was truly overwhelming.
I am a reliable and hard-working student and, since starting college, have become more independent. I'm excited about starting university to meet like-minded people, and becoming equipped with the knowledge I need to pursue my career of choice.