Geography Personal Statement
My ambition to study for a degree in geography is inspired by a deep belief in the importance of the subject in the modern world. Most of the problems which beset the world and may threaten the order of our society and even our continued existence – population growth, sustainability, environmental degradation, the depletion of resources, and natural disasters – can be described and understood in geographical terms. Man-made disasters, such as building residential housing on flood plains, the diversion of water courses as in the Aral Sea, or building nuclear power stations in earthquake zones, are largely the result of ignoring the advice of geographers. I believe, therefore, that geographical knowledge and understanding are essential to our future welfare, and the subject appeals to me for its intrinsic interest (there is nowhere you can go without encountering something of geographical interest – a glacial valley, a local building stone or a specific agricultural practice) and for its immediate relevance to our lives. I am particularly interested in the economic aspects of geography and the link with globalisation, and in the role of technology in shrinking the world and also producing unprecedented multi-cultural societies, an experiment of which we cannot yet see the outcome. Through geographical knowledge we are becoming increasingly aware of inequalities in the human world, which may sharpen as resources come under greater pressure. We know that western-style consumption is unlikely to be sustainable; the planet is a finite resource, after all, and technology may perhaps not solve all our problems. Then there is the ever-present concern about climate change, its effects and the possible ways to manage it, as well as the consequences of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. The dynamism of the earth means that there could hardly be a more exciting subject. I am academically able and at school I have held various posts of responsibility. Last year I was selected as the Geography Department high achiever, and was also asked to assist in a field trip for younger pupils as a team leader. I have been captain of my rugby team and responsible for coaching the year 8 for competition. I have undertaken work experience in a property management company in London, where I took part in a number of building surveys and site visits as well as learning about the firm’s computer system. This contact with the real world of work also allowed me to observe meetings of professionals and to visit other companies including a law firm. Earlier I had a placement at a retail outlet, working in a team and having some customer service training. Both of these experiences gave me a taste of the outside world and taught me much about what is needed to be employable. Indeed, one of the attractions of the geography course is the transferable nature of many of the skills involved, and the way this opens doors to various possible careers.
I am a keen golfer and play at competition level, and I hold the Highest Award in the Young Masters golf scheme. I also love fishing as a means of relaxation. I enjoy travel, experiencing different cultures and coming to understand the variety of the world. I have been on a school trip to Japan, and I have also travelled much in America, including school skiing trips. I play the saxophone, so far at grade 2. I always try to keep abreast of developments in my subject by following stories in the media, and I regularly read The Economist, National Geographic and The Geographer.
I am a positive and enthusiastic individual who very much enjoys working in a team, though I have the confidence in my own judgement to be equally happy operating on my own. I am honest, responsible and approachable. I enjoy practical challenges, and always follow a project through to its end. My commitment to my subject is total, and I hope you will consider my application.