Why Study History?

As soon as I made it known that I intended on pursuing a career in history, the question has been asked many times “what will you do with that?”  While a definitive answer to that question still eludes me, I can answer with firmness why I have chosen to study history.  It’s simply what I enjoy doing and I’ll continue to pursue new and innovative ways to look at history in the hopes that a career comes of it.

Dating back to my time in elementary school, learning about the American Revolution for the first time, history/social studies has been my subject of choice.  The notion that history presents a type of portal to the past has always stood out to me.  Although never terribly interested in my own genealogy, I have always been intrigued by how things “used to be,” and going a step further, why certain aspects of culture have changed over time.  At this point in my academic career it is the cultural relevance I see in history that is the core of my interest.

The way I see it, there are no limitations on history.  History is everywhere and is being made every day.  Although this may be a cliche, I still believe it to be true.   To me, the essence of history is knowing that the past was alive and the proof of that is in today’s society.  I am always drawn by the question of why certain aspects of our culture have changed, or why they have remained the same.  History provides a great way to see the development of a culture or civilization.  It provides access to understanding why things are the way they are.  This is not to say that history can, or even should, always explain the present, but it certainly provides some possible theories.

Something as simple as knowing someone was standing where I am now feeds the appetite of my mind.  There are endless things to consider simply based off that line of thought.  If someone was in this location, what was he or she doing here?  What was his or her life like?  What type of experiences did he or she have and are they something I can relate to or are they completely foreign?  With these thoughts in mind, history is never ending and always sparks my imagination.  My favorite part of history is the study of the daily routines of individuals as a reflection of my own daily routines.  The people who don’t get the headlines and the actions that aren’t considered momentous are often what I find to be the most compelling parts of the past.  I see the little intricacies of the past and cannot get enough of them.  This continues to drive my desire to learn more and continually delve into the study of what once was.

1 Comment

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One response to “Why Study History?

  1. This is a good start, but you need to be commenting on the books for class

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