BA Geography Personal Statement
Submitted by Amelia
As an eleven-year-old, I travelled to the Cape Verde Islands. As soon as our plane began to descend, I was astonished by the diverse landscape below me. An abundance of questions burst into my mind: how was this desert-like island created? What causes the waves here to be so powerful? Who would live in a place like this? Why are the neighbouring islands volcanic yet Boa Vista was covered in fine white sand? My fascination for geography had begun- alongside a passion for travelling. Most recently, I have sailed past the Soufriere Hills volcano in Montserrat- creating my enthusiasm for volcanism. The surrounding areas were desolate whilst the volcano itself was full of life, with clouds of smoke pouring out. I have now studied plate tectonics in depth, and know it was created as the Atlantic plate subducted under the Caribbean plate. It became active in 1995, causing mass evacuations and obliterated the city of Plymouth. The trip also gave me an insight into how diverse different cultures are- when I visited Havana in Cuba I learnt that every male has to complete at least two years of military service as they are a communist country surrounded by capitalist countries, like the USA, that wish to undermine its communist principles so they had to be fit and prepared for any future attack.
For my A-Levels, I am studying geography, maths and economics. I enjoy all three and I find the latter two help deepen my geographical understanding, for example, I explore economic impacts of different scenarios, such as how countries modify their economic losses after a natural disaster, and I use maths in situations such as doing a location quotient to measure the concentration of steel-related industries in Sheffield. I have carried out fieldwork in Malham, North Yorkshire, and the postglacial landscape amazed me. It helped me put into perspective the sheer size of glaciers by seeing how large the glacier must have been to fill the Chapel le Dale glacial trough. Not only did this help my understanding of glaciers, but it also taught me an array of skills such as how to measure the size of drumlins and how to measure the depth of soil, working as a team and individually. In July 2017, I attended a Sutton Trust Summer School and the one-week residential played an integral part in my firm decision to apply for university. The trip not only gave me an insight into university life but also taught me a lot about myself which enabled me to determine the course I wish to study. Before attending, I planned to do solely physical geography however the taster lectures allowed me to see how diverse and interesting human geography is, sparking a new interest in this side of geography.
I enjoy broadening my horizons and regularly listen to podcasts relating to geography- my favourite being "Are we bigger than the biosphere? An ecologist's examination of our human-dominated planet" by Professor Malhi. It highlights the interrelation between human activity and the biosphere- something which I found profoundly interesting having not studied this subject in depth yet. In addition, I have fun reading a wide range of magazines and newspapers such as 'Geographical' and 'The Economist'. I particularly love the Explorers section of the magazine 'Geographical' because it gives me the inspiration to venture away from the beaten track and it helps me learn about different cultures. Documentaries such as 'Our Guy in China' also fascinate me- I learnt a staggering 700 people die on China's road per day due to accidents- mainly due to its overpopulated, undeveloped roads. The world around me is constantly changing; climate is becoming increasingly difficult to control, the amount of environmental degradation is becoming worrying, a persistent rise in population is causing numerous cases of overcrowding, poverty is still a global problem... all in which makes geography increasingly relevant.