University College London (UCL), BSc Social Sciences Personal Statement
Human behaviour is complex and constantly evolving. Since studying A level Psychology, my fascination with human nature and the way we behave, both in a group or as individuals has grown. The study of group behaviour led to my interest in sociology as I enjoy exploring the way society has the ability to affect our behaviour. Each of the subjects varies greatly in approach, but it is that variation that I relish. I want to be able to understand how and why individuals behave the way they do and I am eager to develop my understanding of the two disciplines at university.
What intrigues me about psychology is the idea that one answer is not always possible, each theory adds a piece to the puzzle. I am captivated by Milgram’s work on obedience and the idea that individuals gave up their autonomy in order to carry out immoral acts. I am interested in studying various aspects of individuals in order to understand why phenomena such as the atrocities of the Second World War occur. The fluidity in the discipline allows for various theories to be explored in order to understand and prevent such things from occurring again. I enjoy studying Psychology with such passion because of the way it helps people to understand themselves; Psychology helped me to cope with my difficult childhood experiences. Facing those challenges with a greater understanding of myself allowed me to overcome them and reach my goals. Most of all, it offered me an insight into other people and allowed me to help them face difficult periods.
I have increasingly noticed how society also is a major source of influence on an individual’s behaviour. Having recently started studying sociology, I find it extremely interesting. It has changed my way of thinking about society through making me reflect on the way people’s lives are affected by the social structures around them. Mike Savage’s work on the fragmentation of social class highlighted for me the different levels of discrimination, and to a certain degree, oppression, present within our society. The Marxist explanation of how capitalism seems to be the root of evil and inequality is a view I had not thought of. Each perspective has allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of social problems and what is necessary in order to help prevent such inequalities. It has also encouraged me to think more carefully about the importance of politics and social policy; I now have a greater comprehension of how the subject disciplines of Sociology and Law link up in the implementation of social policies.
In 2013 I was awarded a black belt in karate. It is not just about being physically active, it is about pushing the limits as well as committing time and effort to classes. Karate is about being patient with the grading process, showing respect and having a good understanding of the strong mental attitude needed for success. Being a language prefect in my sixth form offered me the opportunity to develop my communication and organisation skills as well as assisting those who required extra support in the French department. I developed these skills further in the summer of 2013 when I volunteered for a week in Morocco feeding the homeless and providing them with activities. It allowed me to gain an insight into how culture affects norms and values. Until the age of 11, I lived in Switzerland and looking back now, I notice the differences within the different social systems and people’s attitudes. My experiences in both countries made me realise the extent to which people’s life chances are affected by where in a country, or the world, they are born. I never fully understood social contemporary problems until I began studying sociology and I find it fascinating. Studying psychology and sociology has offered me the opportunity to gain a profound understanding of the society I am part of and I hope to continue to explore these captivating disciplines at university.
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