“We are not makers of history – we are made of history” – Martin Luther King. This quote perfectly sums up why I enjoy learning history as a subject at school and at home, further inspiring me to apply to study it at University. I am captivated by our past and the development of society over the ages. My recent visit to Rome cemented my obsession for ancient history and archaeology. I was struck by the fact that buildings like the colosseum, built in AD80, were still standing today. The last recorded games took place in the 6th century. Since then the Colosseum has endured earthquakes and bombings during World War Two but has still survived. During my visit I was able to explore the underground tunnels which was very atmospheric, the idea that I was actually walking in the footsteps of gladiators who had waited there before battle.
I live in the village of Lyminge, which is an important archaeological site. 1,300 years ago, an Anglo-Saxon monastery stood in the village, presided over by a royal abbess. In 2014 there was an archaeological dig and the excavations showed that the Anglo-Saxon occupation extended back into the 5th century A.D. The experience of seeing the dig convinced me that I would definitely enjoy both the practical and theoretical parts of Archaeology. I believe that Archaeology complements History perfectly, as it deals with more physical aspects of history, as opposed to just the textual sources. It also allows us to learn more about the lifestyles of ordinary people.
One of my favourite aspects of History is identifying certain patterns and events in the past and how they can recur throughout global history, for example the similarities in the Holocaust in the 1940s and the ethnic cleansing of Serbs in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. This summer I visited Auschwitz which was both fascinating and emotional. It showed me that the decisions and actions of an individual can have devastating consequences on others. The trip to Birkenau made the greatest impression because the site is so large, it extends as far as the eye can see, yet during the time of the Holocaust it was full of people cramped together.
I believe my A-level subjects complement my degree choice because they have furthered my knowledge of how history continues to influence and shape the society of today. Studying history at A Level has provided me with many independent learning skills, increased my knowledge of resourcing, improved my analytical skills and enhanced my research skills. Economics has given me both analytical and evaluative skills and enabled me to deliver disciplined well-structured arguments. These skills teamed with my motivation and fascination for the past, leads me to believe I will really enjoy all aspects of this course.
Outside of school I participate in ski racing, in the UK on dry and indoor slopes and on snow within Europe. I have managed to reach a high level, being consistently in the top 10 at national races and have a FIS licence enabling me to compete at international races for GBR. I finished the season 19th FIS GBR athlete in year of birth. This not only ensures I keep active, fit and healthy, but it has taught me discipline, time management skills, independence and the importance of working as a team but in addition the ability to work as an individual. I have also taken this further by obtaining a UKCP Level 1 Coaching qualification, being one of the youngest to achieve this. I regularly coach at my local race club. This demonstrates that I am dedicated and hard-working and has also provided me with increased confidence and communication skills, illustrating that I have the ability to communicate with a range of people.
The downside to competing has meant that I do not have much spare time to pursue other interests however the one after school activity in which I have partaken over the last couple of years is Archives. My school sits in the grounds of a 12th Century Benedictine Priory. The Refectory and the Gatehouse, two of the original 12th Century buildings, have been renovated and are used by the school. I have been researching
I undertook the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh which improved my critical thinking skills, problem solving skills and leadership skills.
My other interest is reading, my preference is for historical books such as SPQR, A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard. One of the introductory paragraphs perfectly sums up my interest in history and why I wish to pursue studying the subject at university and hopefully beyond. “Ancient Rome is important as it defines the way we understand our world and think about ourselves. After 2000 years it continues to underpin western culture and politics, what we write and how we see the world and our place in it.” I hope that through studying History I will continue to be inspired, develop my knowledge and enhance my skills, enabling me to study of a wide variety of subject areas and time frames, giving me ample possibilities for further studies and a future career.