English Literature Personal Statement
I rediscovered my love of literature in November, running away from UCL. I was miserable; the hardest thing I have yet to do was accepting that History wasn’t right, despite loving the experience and rigours of university academics. But I realised what I had been missing: my own imagination. I retain an interest in History but I became convinced that getting a good grade indicated a passion for a subject; in the end, it didn’t take me long to realise my mistake.
Therefore it was reading Bulgakov on a train which convinced me that I should have originally chosen English, with Creative Writing or not. My hunger for literature, developed as a child, is growing again; I aim now to extend my breadth of reading around familiar authors and ones I’ve yet to encounter. Periods like the Gothic movement (for its mix of the strange and horrific with the high emotions of Romanticism) and also Magical Realism (blending miraculous concepts with reality, to create images and worlds which are familiar but oddly surreal) are especially interesting to me. History’s impact on literature is also intriguing, with the War Poets and authors, like Solzhenitsyn, influenced by Soviet Russia.
My pursuit of my own writing has also been reinvigorated. As a child I longed to emulate authors I read, and words have never since stopped being fascinating. With any English degree, along with reading deeper into others’ works, I wish to strengthen my own literary potential, gaining inspiration and insight from different perspectives, whilst developing my personal interest with the interplay of words. I was happiest at college when a part of a creative writing group; some of us still give criticism to each other even now. The reading required for English also enthralled me; I enjoyed History, but it was Atwood, Morrison and Remarque who I revelled in – the sheer breadth of the reading is what really made me love English. Naturally, History made me analytical and strengthened my essays, whilst the IB’s international ethos made me appreciative of different social contexts and issues. I also feel that a compulsory foreign language attuned me to the nuances of language while being invaluable in a world to which international links are forever becoming more prevalent. The great breadth of the IB has of course generally influenced my personal awareness of other facets of study, such as in Biology or Geography, and has provoked an interest in more scientific areas, thus moulding me into a well rounded student. As well as fiction, I love all forms of music (I have played the clarinet for seven years and helped run a music club), swimming, aerobics and photography. Travel has also always been irresistible and I have visited France, Belgium, Iceland and America, as well as locations closer to home. When I complete my degree I am considering teaching English abroad, a plan developed as a voluntary teaching assistant in an adult literacy class. I feel I would be suited to teaching due to my time as a deputy head girl, which grounded my creativity with better organisation and responsibility. I have also cultivated an interest in publishing, though my real dream is to become published in my own right.
English or English with Creative Writing have thus both always hovered in my mind; History would have been right had I not been more inclined to reach for Coelho instead of Skinner. I realise now that I was never meant to be a Historian; the use of words to create metaphors for ideas attracts me more than explaining them plainly, though my time at UCL taught me how to deal with autonomous learning and other vital skills for such a demanding level of education. I miss academia’s challenge but simultaneously I long for an imaginative streak to my degree, and thus English as a single degree or with Creative Writing, offering a unique combination of academics and creativity, is undoubtedly the right choice for me.
Universities Applied to:
- Edinburgh - Offer