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- Published: 20th July 2022
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I wish to read for a degree in History because I have realized my interest in particular historic periods goes further than the classroom when I was studying my A Levels. My enjoyment of history inspired me to undertake an EPQ devoted to the understanding of the tactics used by the opposing sides in the Vietnam War. My interest in the Vietnam War began when I covered this conflict as part of my GCSE course however when I got to A Level I was not satisfied with the depth of knowledge acquired which is why I was keen to undertake independent research for my EPQ. The book ‘Always the children, a nurse’s story of home and war’ was written by Anne Watts, a nurse, who helped the wounded in the Vietnam War and her perspective shows that the young generation of war are the ones who are affected most and suffer the consequences the greatest. This war was one of the first wars that was broadcast into the homes of the public and therefore public opinion greatly molded the atmosphere of the war. Even the President, Johnson, said “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost middle America” which shows that broadcasting impacted the war, arguably more than any other factor. This is in stark contrast to present day with pictures which are beamed to millions of households every day with bloodshed in warring countries around the world.
I am a regular member of my school’s History and English Literature Societies; both of which I find helpful in deepening my understanding of historical events. As a result of attending History Society, I have really enjoyed lectures given by Historians Eric Foner and David Blight who are incredibly well-researched American Historians. Especially Blight’s lecture called “The Election of 1860 and the Secession Crisis” because in it he speaks of the importance of John Brown and how his actions impacted the way in which people voted in the election of 1860. Films such as ‘The Help’ and ‘Twelve Years a Slave’ made me question the absurdity and dehumanizing levels of denigration the African American’s were subjected to and helped me to take an interest in the movement which I am writing my History Coursework about. A resource that helped me to complete my coursework on the Civil Rights Movement was the ‘In Our Time’ radio broadcasts on BBC Radio 4. The broadcast “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” interested me because I had studied extracts of the novel in class and wanted to have a greater understanding of the context behind the greatly controversial novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe. The podcast speaks of how colonization was “her family position”; however, Beecher Stowe divided her family and as she grew older became more involved in the ‘abolitionist movement’, leading to her writing the text itself, which even left the President saying “you’re the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war”. The broadcasts were really interesting and demonstrated different perspectives of the topic which helped me to write a well-balanced piece of coursework. Attending the English Literature Society assists me greatly with my presentational skills and encourages me to engage in challenging topics and time periods in English Literature, that I may not be familiar with. I read the novel ‘My Antonia’ which really helped me to appreciate the pioneering spirit in America at the end of the 18th century and the toughness of the life for the immigrants. Art and Design helped me to have a great understanding of the cultural artefacts throughout history, such as responding to objects obtained from Captain Cook’s Voyage that are exhibited in the ‘Pitt Rivers Museum’, I also enjoyed learning about the mechanics of textiles. English Literature A Level helped me to gain a basic understanding of literature throughout history, as I have studied texts ranging from ‘The Merchant’s Prologue and Tale’ to ‘The Great Gatsby’.
It is my intention to take an extended amount of time away from the UK during the summer before first year to explore in cultures overseas. One of the main motivations for me to go travelling is because I would like to visit Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. These countries represent hope for other parts of the world suffering with internal and external conflicts. I feel that travelling around Asia during this trip will help me to develop my social skills and give me an opportunity to experience independence for the first time, skills that will be essential for University life, whilst experiencing new cultures and ways of life as well.
I have always been a member of the school hockey team and enjoy working in a team to push for the best possible outcome and feel that it has helped me to develop my communication skills tremendously. I also have a ‘Foreign Language Leader Award’ and as this taught me to lead young children through the use of games and activities, to learn basic terminology from other languages. I was able to improve my organizational skills, as well as leading young children through a kind and relaxed environment.
In conclusion, History is for me because I enjoy learning about the fundamentals of the past and how many decisions made by political leader’s impact on everyday life, even dating back to the 1500s when Queen Elizabeth reasserts Protestantism back into England after Mary’s reign, as this is something that still impacts us today.
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Bit shorter than what I have to write but it helped give me some ideas on what to put in mine.