Geography Personal Statement 5
I have always been enthralled by Geography, as a science and as an art. As I was once told, a geographer is a 'jack of all trades'; Chemistry, Physics, History, Sociology and many more, although its agreement with the colloquialism does not, in my opinion, follow through to a conclusion as 'master of none'. The topics I study encourage me to research elsewhere: in the NewScientist magazine, newspapers such as the Guardian, and international internet blogs, as well as contributing to a school magazine based on environmental issues, for which I have focused on rising sea levels, and the effects on island and estuary communities such as Tuvalu in the Pacific Ocean, as well as the contentious issue of the questionable role of organisations such as Greenpeace in environmental reform. It is fascinating to see the phrase "no man's an island" proved positive in such countries as the Maldives, which despite not being the causes of the rising sea levels, are still reaping their destruction.
I especially enjoyed the field studies I have prepared as part of my A level and GCSE courses. I have studied both physical and human aspects, and last year investigated the synthesis of factors that contribute to integrated coastal management, specifically in the Isle of Wight. I conducted my own surveys, ranging from questionnaires to bi-polar analysis and tested the strength of relationships with statistical techniques such as chi squared. I look forward to developing my investigative skills further. Within the context of theory, I enjoy both Human and Physical sides of the course, particularly the effects of tourism and industry on fragile ecosystems, such as sand dunes, and the causes and formation of the weather; I find the interlocking, cyclical nature of such phenomena as El Nino and their impacts on our world intriguing.
With the spectrum of subjects I am studying I can always draw upon skills learnt from other A-levels. History and English essays lend clarity to the A2 Geography report I will soon be compiling, for which I am assessing the impact of golf courses on the environment.
London, where I have absorbed the captivating blend of cultures, taking advantage of the theatres, galleries and museums, has played a crucial role in my education. The recent 'Soul in the City' project, a pan-London youth and community initiative encompassing over 700 partnerships, enabled me to get a human perspective on my geographical case studies of urban poverty, as well as helping me to build confidence and team work skills.
Last summer I was on the leadership team of a holiday camp for children, which required dynamism as well as discipline to be a success. This responsibility, and that of my volunteer work in a creche, where leadership skills are key, ensures I know the true meaning of the phrase "keeping calm under pressure".
I am used to deadlines, not least on the internet, where I edit other authors' fiction for errors, and am in the process of securing work experience at HarperCollins publishers. Extra curricular activities, such as Scottish dancing, swimming, for which I have won several medals, and music are key to my working mindset. With these interests, contributing to my Duke of Edinburgh award, it has been critical that I keep myself and my work organised, especially since I became a prefect.
I look forward to continuing my studies at University, and furthering my knowledge of my preferred subjects.
Universities Applied to:
- St Andrews (Offer)
- Oxford (Rejection after Interview)
- Aberystwyth (Offer)
- Durham (Rejection)
- Edinburgh (Rejection)
Article by TSR User on Thursday 15 February 2018
Much of my initial enthusiasm for Geography stemmed from the fact that it encompasses so many of the factors that shape both my local area and my life within it. Concerns surrounding rural depopulation and the eventual closure of my former primary school, broadband availability or the siting of wind turbines would have intrigued me in their own right, regardless of further study, yet pursuing the subject has enabled me to develop an understanding of the wider significance of such issues. Learning how all are aspects of challenges which transcend local politics opened my eyes to the fact that Geography not only identifies such problems, be they social, economic or environmental, but is vital in developing workable solutions.
A recent AS unit on population illustrated Geography's interdisciplinary nature. Through exploring not just the distribution of but also the reasons behind particular case-studies, the topic melded together an understanding of politics, culture and history, allowing me to gain insight from both A-level History and Philosophy. The notion of assimilating data from across the spectrum of the social and physical sciences is one that seems common across the field of Geography, and the potential breadth and depth of study this offers is something that has long attracted me to a degree. While I have also enjoyed learning the extent to which models can aid our understanding through conceptualising both demographic change and globalisation, studying the occasional limitations of this abstract approach fascinates me. Reading Richard Dowden's book 'Africa', and indeed the travel writing of Michael Palin and Rory Stewart, underlined how such generalising laws may overlook the unique circumstances of a nation or region, especially in relation to development levels.
My lifetime love of reading means that exploring books, newspapers and periodicals such as National Geographic or The Economist has long been a habit, and an awareness of context heightens my enjoyment of topics encountered in school. It is also rewarding when the overlaps between current affairs and the Geography syllabus grant me a new perspective on issues such as population control, words which even today evoke an uncomfortable response. The frequency at which this occurs reminds me of the diverse and rewarding career paths down which a Geography degree could take me.
Since May, I have worked towards an Open University module entitled 'Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tsunamis' as part of their Young Applicants Scheme. Pitched at an undergraduate level, the absorbing nature of the course affirmed my intention to pursue a Geography degree, while developing my skills of independent study. Similarly, taking AS Computing alongside my GCSEs taught me the importance of good time management, forcing me to prioritise and balance my work and interests outside of school. The emphasis both opportunities placed upon logical, scientific approaches to problems enabled me to continue building upon GCSE science and mathematics, and apply these when tackling complex ideas at A-level.
Volunteering to teach members of the University of the Third Age allowed me to put my interest in IT to use in a team environment. Though adapting to the differing ability levels of class members meant that the lessons offered a constant challenge, I gained confidence in my ability to
communicate difficult ideas successfully on both a one-to-one basis and when leading the group. Taking part in a Young Enterprise company, acting as a defence lawyer in a 'mock trial' and serving on the school council let me advance this further, and will serve me well in my role as a prefect this year.
I am confident that my experiences will enable me to adapt quickly to the pressures of a degree, and thus enable me to make the most of the opportunities university life offers. I eagerly look forward to taking an active role in a Geography department and working with people who share my passion for the subject.