The appeal of history is, to me, its constantly changing nature – how we as historians approach it with different agendas, it development, shifts and even changes in its own definition. For me, history is a way of capturing the past and the millions of stories it holds in order to preserve these memories and reflect on how even ancient history can hold up a mirror to our society today.
The depth and scale of a history degree is what attracts me to a history course as I enjoy exploring many areas of our past, whether that be from the early middle ages to how the modern world we know today was established. History at higher level offers such a variety of modules, all of which explore the past in intricate detail whilst also exploring the bigger picture of the effect on our lives now, and it is this intricacy and detail which has always fascinated me and drawn me into history.
In particular I am drawn to social history, especially the role of women in the formation of our society, an interest I have supported with a variety of independent reading such as Mary Beard’s ‘Women and Power’ and Betty Friedan’s ‘The Feminine Mystique’, both of which, although exploring different eras, have widened my understanding of how women have been treated in regard to traditional power structures and institutions throughout time. This independent reading, as well as my A level studies and my other historical interests, such as researching George Méliès and early French filmmaking for my French A Level independent research project, demonstrate my keenness and passion for the subject and my dedication and drive in order to be a successful historian. I have also visited various museums such as the York Army Museum to help my history coursework studies, the Roman Army Museum and Vindolanda site to widen my understanding of my ancient history course, and in my free time museums such as the National Folk Museum in Scotland and the British Museum. My studies in both history and ancient history have greatly developed my historical skills in source evaluation and my capacity to approach ideas from new angles, with an open and inquisitive mind. I have also gained analytical and critical skills from my English Literature studies.
As well as history, I have an active interest in the field of education, sparked by my interest in my mother’s role as a SENDCo. I have had two weeks of experience in primary schools – one in a French school, which was hugely challenging yet rewarded me with great communication skills and an insight into a previously unfamiliar European school system – and have volunteered with a Brownies group for five years, both of which have cemented my belief that education is a highly gratifying field that I am aiming to involve myself in either academically or practically in future. Outside of academic studies, I have spent a week in a PR and communications office, and also have a part-time job in a nursing home. Both of these opportunities have allowed me to become a confident, dependable and responsible person, with the wide variety of residents and needs at my work requiring me to be empathetic, approachable and efficient in my tasks. My reliability and engagement with others can also be seen in my role in a charity group, Zawadi, which fundraises for the group Neema Crafts in Tanzania, working to reduce the stigma around disability. I am also looking forward to becoming a volunteer at my local hospital radio station, a role which will be brilliant in developing my communication skills, as well as my co-operation with the other volunteers which will build on my already solid ability to exceed in a group environment.
In conclusion, a history degree will offer me the opportunity to engage even more with a subject I enjoy and am driven to succeed in, and will allow me to continue in my pursuits of a job in the historical field.