Shaping a Humanities Academic Profile

An article by Laura.

As Year 12 students, it is rare that we know exactly what we wish to study for the next four or so years of our lives. For quite a long time, I was contemplating between multiple areas of study, however when I came across Political Studies and Government everything seemed to click rightly into place. My profile seemed almost entirely guided towards this field. What I started to notice were patterns in my CCAs choices, my A Level choice, my skills at school and all the other activities that I had been dedicating time to outside of school.

Sixth Form - the last two years of study before university - plays a key role in the personal and academic development of how we will grow to become adults. As intimidating as it may sound, the decisions we make during these last couple of years, including A Level choices and how we decide to spend our time (what CCA’s, leadership positions, out-of-school commitments etc.), all shape our future careers and life paths. Building a so-called Humanities profile, or a personal portfolio for those interested in Politics, Law, Sociology, Psychology, Geography and many more, is of critical importance especially during the last years of secondary education.

BSB opens a lot of doors in this academic domain and provides many opportunities for students that are interested in building such a profile. Debating plays a key role in these types of portfolios. If you are the type of student that wishes to improve your public speaking or oratory skills, then this is for you. Debating has shaped my critical mind as well as my perceptions of our society. It has enabled me to think outside the box, voice the unthinkable and approach any possible topic with an open mind in an attempt at weighing both sides of an argument.

Learning to advocate for the impossible.

Debate plays a key role in our day-to-day life, and if your future plans lay even at the opposite end of the spectrum (this includes Maths, Science and the Creative Arts), the skills that one person can learn through it are of vital value in anyone’s academic path. BSB has two striving teams, a senior and a junior one, both of which participate nationally and internationally throughout the year. The senior team is currently preparing for the international COBIS championship which takes place in Marbella, Spain this year, and we are all looking forward to fruitful debates as well as academically and mentally challenging arguments.

Some experiences, however, need to come from self-conducted initiatives. My passion for debating and public speaking pushed me to look further for out-of-school opportunities to explore the field I have identified as the one I will be pursuing at university. I therefore successfully applied to one of the only model NATO conferences for secondary students in Europe, BMNATO.

In contrast to the actual NATO organization, model NATO has five committees including a replica of the world-known North Atlantic Committee as well as the Crisis one. The Crisis Committee in these model conferences contained both NATO and non-NATO members in an attempt at replicating real-life crises between nations. I was selected as the delegate of The People’s Republic of China in this Crisis Committee.

The Conference itself lasted for three whole days full of extensive debate, directives and operative clauses being submitted and treaties being drawn up between nations. The main conflict we needed to solve were a series of bombardments on a global scale, all hypothetically placed in 2022, yet mirroring current events. The circumstances we were presented with were given to us on the spot in an attempt to see how well we could deal with the news as ‘representatives’ of nations from across the globe, as well as how articulately, diplomatically and accurately we could take decisions whilst maintaining our own nations’ interests and standards.

At the end of the conference, I was awarded the ‘Best Delegate Award’. Awards such as these add to the overall humanities profile that I have been building over the years and bring more weight onto my academic self. I believe that, at the end of the day, it is important to pursue the things that we are passionate about. The award would be worthless if debating and politics were not as important to me personally and academically as they currently are.

The importance of what we dedicate our time to on these last couple hundred of meters of the marathon that is secondary school cannot be quantified in an article. However, the key thing to hereby recognize, is that opportunities exist out there, in every possible area of study or personal interest. The only thing left for each and every one of us…

… is to pursue them in order to bring our dreams closer to our very own doorstep.

January 2020