History BA Personal Statement
Submitted by Naima
Studying History has offered me an insight into the structure of society and what influences and initiates social change. As the daughter of a marriage of dual heritage, I am particularly interested in exploring comparisons between cultures, identifying triggers of change in society, how far change has occurred and the change in the role of women within society. I am particularly interested in the study of modern social history and how the political and economic conditions of a society can affect a citizen’s life. The topics in the A-level history syllabus have helped me gain an understanding of how the flow of money determines the distribution of power, how this has worked, what has changed and what can be applied to an understanding of the future from the past. For example, in nineteenth century Britain only the elite determined and ruled society however by the late nineteenth century society and the shift of power was changing due to industrialisation. Studying at A-Level has helped me to develop my analytical skills and my ability to research by identifying appropriate material to form and demonstrate both verbal and written arguments. I have become increasingly confident in class discussion, critically evaluating primary and secondary sources, which I have used to reach my own opinions and judgments on historical events. I look forward to developing these skills further at university, surrounded by people who also have a love for history.
Psychology has helped fuel my interest for history; key psychological thinkers have conducted studies based on past events and have given an insight into how to stop this being repeated. Milligram, who looked into the effect of social influence, was a Jewish refugee who escaped Nazi Germany and was interested in why so many ordinary citizens followed the fascist rule of Hitler and enabled the Holocaust. Politics and history clearly interlock. The politics of a country has an effect on the people and the country’s international relationships. For example Stalin’s dictatorship, rooted from his interpretation of Marxism, oppressed Soviet citizens, carried out mass genocide and turned the USSR into an isolationist state. Key political thinkers, such as Locke, have had a major influence on Britain’s political system; which has an influence on how our country is governed today. ‘October: The Story of the Russian Revolution’ has helped to develop my interest in history. The book gives a modern take on the 1917 Russian Revolution. It particularly interests me as it focuses on how the revolution affected the soldiers’ lives and the effect it had on them. ‘Extreme Wives with Kate Humble’, a current BBC documentary, has further fuelled my interest in history. It demonstrates how traditions have restricted women’s lives and continue to do so. This was shown in Kuria a small part of Kenya, where FGM still continues and women are being married off in exchange for cows. This interests me as it displays how culture plays such a big part in people’s lives.
Being a senior prefect has offered me the opportunity to take a leadership role. Some of my responsibilities have included representing and speaking at school events. I have also been an active member of the school council which has increased my level of responsibility within my school and with my peers. During Sixth Form I have been a mentor to children from lower year groups. I have taken part in the Duke of Edinburgh scheme, gaining my bronze certificate. A monumental achievement for me was dancing in the Paralympics Closing Ceremony in which I had the opportunity of performing with Coldplay, Rihanna and JAY-Z. This required a six month commitment of twice weekly auditions which helped me build resilience. I have had two part time jobs, both in retail, which has given me essential life and money management skills and the ability to meet and help people. I look forward to taking my interest in History even further at University developing my knowledge in a greater depth and breadth than is possible at A Level. I feel ready for the challenge and commitment required to study at a higher level.