Submitted by Ruairi
The English language has always been central to my interests throughout my life, both in school and in my own personal hobbies. I have always felt inspired by my English studies, from primary school all the way to Sixth Form. I have developed a great interest in analysing language, meaning and structure everywhere, from language in music and film to its usage in daily life. This interest has been magnified to higher levels through my A-Level English studies, thus leading to my decision to make the next step to study English at university. I love trying to understand how English literature has influenced our societies, from Shakespeare in the Jacobean Era, to modern writers such as Stephen King and the effect they have had on pop culture; how movements such as romanticism left lasting impressions on the state of English literature and the greater society.
For my A Levels, I have studied English Literature, ICT and Religious Studies, and I believe all three of these subjects have cultivated and developed my use of English positively. English Literature has refined a passion for books into a constant need to dissect all literature presented to me. ICT coursework has allowed me to develop my mature use of language, and RE has allowed me to learn the skills of being evaluative with my language, as well as developing my own character and flair in my exam work, approaching questions with interesting and thought-provoking answers. Together, these subjects have motivated me to improve my own writing and be more open to challenge from complex literary texts and questions.
I’ve always been interested in the vast possibilities that can be explored through creative use of the English language, and I firmly believe that my choice in literature has been consistently central to my personality. My first engagement with ‘real’ literature was the Harry Potter series, and the aspects I enjoyed manifested into interests of Stephen King and Edgar Allen Poe, with “It”, “The Masque of the Red Death” and William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies” all close to my heart as my favourite stories. There is so much a writer can present through smart use of the English language, and I have always admired the skill involved. It particularly interests me how an author’s work can be greatly reflective of the era they came from; offering stark commentary and criticisms as a capsule of their own times.
I have had the experience of using my enjoyment of English in a teaching environment by reading with primary school children as a mentor to develop their understanding of English. I truly enjoyed the experience as it allowed me to present my passion for literature to a younger age group, helping me learn how to adapt my language and reading for others, and it gave me great joy watching their confidence and literacy skills develop. I also completed a ‘Living Law’ programme throughout Lower Sixth at the Law Society in Belfast. Here, I was presented with a certificate for partaking in a mock bail session. I enjoyed the experience greatly as it provided a new setting to test my knowledge and application as language, as well as learning about the importance of language in contemporary law settings and the importance of choosing the right words.
Through English literature, I am more appreciative and inquisitive of the world around me than I would be if picking away at a novel was not my favourite activity from a young age. I have always been greatly fascinated at how the English language and literature has affected society and world cultures in the widest sense. An important subject to me is literature amid social instability, as it gives the best indication of how society functioned in a radically different era. I am confident in my English abilities as well as in the consumption and application of my knowledge. I am constantly engaging in the learning of new things, and it is this willingness and enthusiasm to learn that I believe will benefit me greatly in university.