Inside and outside of school I have always enjoyed history because it allows me the opportunity to immerse myself in different ideologies and cultures. As my history studies have progressed I have gained an increasing interest in modern History, particularly that of the 20th century. For example, my interest in the First World War was fully recognised in 5th form when I went on a battlefields trip as it enabled me to engage with history on a more personal level.
Going to post-war locations, such as the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, allowed me to fully connect with the events, really putting into context the fatalities of the Great War. I would like to study Ancient History as well as History, the two of them combined complement each other perfectly, particularly in regards to one of my passions, social history. Moreover, studying Classical Civilisation for GCSE undoubtedly sparked my interest in the subject. The ways in which early civilisations are mirrored in today’s world makes reading around the subject so interesting.
The study of Ancient History excites me because it is interesting to link modern day tendencies with the ancient world. For example, I found the topic of Spartan women in my GCSE syllabus very intriguing. This led me to read “Spartan women” by Sarah B. Pomeroy which provided a very different view of how women have been treated across history. For example, in Spartan civilisation, women were famous in ancient Greece for having more freedom than anywhere else in the ancient world. To contemporaries outside of Sparta, Spartan women had a reputation for controlling their husbands and being a leading figure in the family. This is not only surprising due to other normalities at the time, but it is also surprising as women didn’t have much control in the family until much later in history.
This social example of history is a perfect example of how we can link the past to the future. In addition, “The Odyssey” by Homer, sparked more of a mythological interest. The Odyssey is based on oral history which is still very prominent in modern history, especially 19th century. So it is interesting to link the two eras together. It is interesting to read these sources which have been passed down the generations orally because it requires a much more careful when interpreting them.
History holds a unifying thread to one of my other A-levels, French. The discussion and research during my French lessons of Edmond Rostand’s ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’ has increased my knowledge and interest of French historical culture. This had undoubtedly lead to my interest in French Prime Minister in World War One, Georges Clemenceau. He is such an admirable figure due to his control and strategic planning whilst passing the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919 and the First World War for France. The idea of one individual being so dominant in leading a country through a difficult period of time inevitably sparked my interest in political history.
Outside the classroom, I enjoy participating in many activities, both for pleasure and to keep fit. I have captained my school’s first eleven at cricket, as well as representing the first team for squash and football. Consequently, I look forward to getting involved in all aspects of university life. I have also helped as a teaching assistant at the Victoria Education Center, an outstanding special school in my local area. Here I helped individual students learn Chemistry, PE and English. Helping people my age at other schools has assisted me to work better in a group environment and has encouraged me to become a leader in any situation.
I believe I am suited to study History and Ancient history at university because I have a keen interest in research and broadening my knowledge. In addition, I believe that history is always leading us into new areas of investigation and I am excited to expand these areas of interest at a degree level.