If you take one thing from this blog, it should be this: study History! I know I’m a bit biased on this one — I’m a self-confessed nerd for my degree — but if you’re a prospective student and currently floating a few options, I want to show you why History might be the right choice for you.
- It’s much more than ‘just History’
This week alone, I have researched postwar economic trends, I have read nineteenth century philosophy, and I have worked on an essay on the USSR’s Constitution. One of the best things about History for me is that you learn so much about so much; to understand a time period and really get to grips with it, you can’t just learn a chronological list of events. You need to learn about it holistically, and in doing so, you approach it from as many perspectives as possible. I have found History to be naturally a very interdisciplinary degree, which has really suited me because I have been able to pursue interests in other subjects and learn about all sorts of things.
2. There is so much to learn about
You’re studying everything that’s ever happened! This dawned on me when, for my Research Project (a core module for us in Second Year), we were told we could write an essay on any topic we liked. I had the freedom to write about anything. Anything that’s ever happened. Literally. Whilst that was a little overwhelming at first, I thought about the topics that I found most interesting, and saw this as an opportunity to learn more and really dive in. Those opportunities crop up a lot in a History degree. I’ve found that the degree course here at Warwick is really flexible; of course there are core modules, but I get a lot of autonomy over what I study. Even in those core modules, I often pick my own essay questions, sources, and topics to research.
3. It changes your perspective
I have been told many times in my degree that history isn’t there purely to teach us about the future, so I’m not going to use that line. Instead, I will say that, as historians, we are very well-equipped to look backwards and investigate the circumstances in which certain things happened. I have learned that context is everything. This has really changed the way that I look at things. I’m more interested in the big picture, and I’m more careful about making links between things in order to explain them. I once heard a historian say that being a historian means constantly saying: “well, it’s a bit more complicated than that,” and I think there’s definitely some truth to this. My History degree so far has made me so much more interested in the world around me, and encouraged me to look to the past to better understand it. I think that is the most valuable thing I will take away.
There are so many more reasons to study History, but these are the main ones for me. If you want the opportunity to learn about everything, then I would definitely encourage you to give History a go.