- Reading time: 3 minutes
- Price: Free download
- Published: 24th March 2021
- Price: Free download
- File format: Text
Can we really say history is preventative when seventy four years after the holocaust, thousands of Uighur Muslims are being held in “re-education centers” in China? Can we really say history represents all cultures when schools only teach Eurocentric history? Can we really say that everyone has a chance to contribute to history when it is the people in power who decide the course that history takes?
History has the potential to make the world a more tolerant place. Exposure to viewpoints from different cultures, classes and political groups is the only way we can move forward as a society.
I love the breadth and diversity of history and how we can experience the past through different mediums: from researching the medical records of thousands of people spanning an entire century to visiting the sites of historical significance. Recently I visited Lancaster Castle, where eleven of the accused Lancashire Witches were held. Exploring the courtrooms and cells where they were held gave me a more vivid understanding of the case, breaking down the barrier that can be created by statistics and data. Studying Primary Sources also interests me. A case I found particularly interesting was the 1597 ‘Boy Of Burton’ episode. I was compelled to find out more, and read extracts from Samuel Harsnetts’ ‘The discoverie of the fraudulent practices of John Darrell’. While I found the language challenging, I loved seeing how and why Harsnett became skeptical, willing to go against the status quo.
The form of history I find most intriguing and exciting is oral history. Written history tends to flatten the emotional content of speech, meaning that attitudes towards certain topics may be hard to pick up. I was lucky enough to win a Cambridge University independent research project looking at how migration, driven by the Sri Lankan Civil War, affected immigrants and their communities. When questioning my interviewee about how immigrating to the UK had affected her family, she took breaks and slowed down her speech, clearly showing that this period of her life had had a profound impact on her.
As History Ambassador, I believe I have a role to play in introducing other A-Level students to areas of history they may be unfamiliar with. I created the history documentary club, in which A-Level students watch documentaries covering a range of topics. I also help run a debate club. When planning for debate club, I have to create powerpoints discussing a topic that is topical and relevant to current affairs, but most importantly will encourage debate. This has helped me to respect and become aware of different opinions.
My other A-level subjects have also contributed to my understanding of History as a discipline. Psychology has enabled me to understand the role of social influence processes in social change, for example, how a minority group like the Suffragettes were able to cause huge societal change resulting in women’s suffrage. Biology allows me to be objective and to analyse and deal with different forms of data.
Outside academia, I worked with the marketing team at River Island’s Head Office, where I learnt how to accurately cite and reference products on their social media platform and present information in a way that was understandable to the customer.I also learnt how to manage my time effectively, ensuring that I kept up with course work and delivered my assignments in on time. Frequently I do event work, working both behind the scenes planning events and helping out on the day. When planning the event I have had to be organised, deal with suppliers, cater activities to the targeted audience and ensure that the event is both fun and profitable. I have also had experience working at a special needs secondary school, where I had to work with a variety of pupils with varying needs. This has developed my communication skills and taught me how to show initiative and remain calm in challenging situations. I believe these skills will equip me for a university environment, in which I will have to work independently and manage my time sensibly.
I am part of St Johns ambulance cadets. When working as a first aider I have to be able to make sensible decisions in an ever changing environment and to take responsibility for the care of patients. I like to stay active through ice skating and Explorers. Explorers has also given me the opportunity to develop essential team skills and raise money for charity, in December I slept outside in a cardboard box to raise money for Shelter.