History is a wonderfully diverse subject, something which may not become apparent until you reach university. At high school there tends to be a great deal of emphasis on major wars and great leaders, so that you miss out on the most interesting aspects of the past! Of course, what one student finds interesting may not appeal to another, but at least you have an opportunity to explore different approaches to the study of History whilst at university. You soon come to realise that History is not just a subject concerned with fighting and politics, as you also have an opportunity to delve into the lives of ordinary people.
That is not to say that politics and military aspects of the past are not interesting or important to know about, but when you’re at school it often feels that History is all about men fighting other men. By studying History at university you can explore the past through the eyes of the oppressed, including women, indigenous peoples and the working classes to name but a few. History has expanded to incorporate elements from other subjects, meaning that you have a wider range of tools and sources to draw from, thus making the whole learning experience even more fascinating.
Whatever subject you choose to study at university, it is important to be able to enjoy it and to find topics that you wish to explore in greater depth. If you do not have passion for your subject, you will most likely struggle through three or four years of endless lectures, seminars and presentations. You will find yourself having to take notes and write essays and your final year dissertation without the enthusiasm needed to achieve good grades – grades that you will have to carry around with you for the rest of your life.
Most employers will not be concerned with what you studied at university, but rather with how well you applied yourself, which your grades will be seen as a reflection of. If you only manage to scrape by with a third-class degree potential employers may be left wondering whether you’re really the type of person they want to hire when there are other candidates who performed much better during their time at university. At least with a History degree you can explore a variety of different areas, so that you have an opportunity to discover which areas you would like to study more thoroughly and if you develop a passion for the subject, which is easy to do in the case of History, this will show in your results.
History is an excellent subject to study, anyway, because it involves a great deal of reading and writing, so that you have to learn to manage your time and to become a more efficient note taker. You get better at learning which information you need to note down and which you don’t and what the difference between fact and opinion is. You become a better writer as you have plenty of essays to write during your course and you discover what makes a good argument, something that can be applied in your written work and in presentations.
Sometimes you even learn a little bit about the past, too, which is always helpful when trying to understand the present! Studying History at university can therefore give you a chance to expand your mind, understand the world a little bit better and improve your long-term employment opportunities at the same time.