The study of history is important because it allows one to make more sense of the current world. One can look at past economic and cultural trends and be able to offer reasonable predictions of what will happen next in today's world. One can also understand why some rules exist in the modern world. For example, one can understand the importance of the social welfare programs if one looks at the Great Depression and New Deal. We can also look back on the Civil Rights movement and see why the United States puts so much effort into creating a system where everyone is equal before the law and has equal access to public amenities. History also allows us to see how the United States gradually created the Constitution after it had just fought a war against a central government that did not care for colonial interests. Without a background in history, one does not appreciate why the Constitution was revolutionary for its time. More broadly, history enables us to understand different cultures.
If those are not good reasons for studying history, one can study history because it allows one to exercise his/her critical thinking skills. These critical thinking skills are important for all areas in life, academic and otherwise. Historians also write a great deal; a study of history allows one to practice writing for different audiences.
February 11, 2014, by Guest blogger
Why I chose to study History
Faye Haslam explains why she’d tell her 18 year-old self to study History.
I have always enjoyed learning about history, exploring more about our heritage and how the past has shaped who we are today. When it came to deciding what to study at university, although I looked into pursuing a science subject, I ultimately chose to follow the path I knew I would enjoy the most.
What I loved about doing a degree in history is that you’re always learning and discovering something new. One minute I was learning about smugglers in seventeenth-century Britain, the next the development of the blockbuster in Hollywood!
Studying something that you love not only makes your experience of university more enjoyable, it has a knock-on effect on your results. Because I enjoyed what I was studying, I was more driven to challenge myself and achieve my best. It’s hard to imagine keeping your motivation through the (many!) stresses of essays and exams when you can’t stand the subject…
With all of the pressures surrounding students today, it’s easy to think that you should choose a degree with clear career prospects. However, the huge range of transferable skills you gain from a degree such as history, from writing and analytical thinking, to research skills, organisation, time management and more should not be underestimated and can take you into a wide variety of careers. In my current position in marketing, I use the skills I gained in my degree on a daily basis, demonstrating that a subject such as history is relevant and valuable in the world of work.
I’ve never regretted my choice of degree, and if I were to speak to my 18-year-old self, I would tell them to make the same choice. By choosing to study something I am passionate about, I have made myself more employable and graduated with a range of crucial skills, but more importantly, I loved every moment of my university experience!
Read more from other students, academics and employers on the Study What You Love pages.
Posted in UoN alumniUoN staff