What H1 History subject means to me.

It has been a super long time since the last time I actually posted anything here.

Life has been super busy, and it is kind of difficult for me to just find a time and the mood to post anything in the blog. Feel kind of guilty for not writing anything for so long.

So yeah, long story short, I started writing this post a week before my major examination. Hahaha, the things that you do when you are supposed to study.

Ahem, yeah I should actually. In my defense, I WAS studying.

Yeap, definitely studying hard.

This blog post is sort of a self-reflection on the reasons why I chose history and what are some struggles that I'm facing now due to that decision that I took.


How it all started

I take History for my minor in A level. Note that when I wrote minor, it doesn't necessarily mean it's unimportant- it is STILL IMPORTANT. (History contributes to 10 points out of 90 total points)

From the beginning of last year, I was so certain about choosing History as one of my subjects. Most of my friends will take Physics, Chemistry, Math and Economics. If not, they will take Biology instead of Physics.

Farewell to this kind of questions (and the harder ones muahahaha)

Honestly, I didn't know what went through my mind when I chose History; or maybe it was the result of me excluding physics from my combination; or maybe it was me wanting to start afresh. Back then, I was sure that I wanted to take History. Some people would consider the college's performance in that particular subject as a part of decision making, but thinking back it didn't even cross my mind. I never really knew where I got that confidence from.

Well, one year later things have gotten tougher.

Sad to say, but the fast-paced and stressful education system has the ability to make any subject you are passionate about into the most boring and annoying subject ever- especially in JC Level.

What's this crap.

It's fairly common to find friends of mine losing interest in what used to be interesting to them. The demanding requirements from the examination plus the (in my opinion) unreasonable amount of time given to accomplish them are just the perfect combination to extinguish any flame of passion for anything.

That does not exclude me, I got bored of History.

This became more and more apparent this year when we stopped studying the Cold War (or should I say, no more Gorbachev to be seen in the topics after Cold War).

The new topic is something more abstract, it's about Religious Fundamentalism. How certain conditions and factors can lead to the rise of religious fundamentalism and what are the impact of it. Next, the topic focuses on the Arab- Israeli War. These are all things that seem foreign to me.

All the terms (Shah, Zionist, etc.),
The countries involved (Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Palestine),
The events (First Intifada, Camp David Agreements, 6 Days War, Yom Kippur War)
The new faces (Arafat, Sadat, Nasser)
The different organizations (Hamas, Hezbollah, PLO)

I'm listing some of the things that I'm studying now to portray how many things one needs to know. It felt as if all of these information was being shoved into my brain. Honestly really, it was crazy how one organization could split into two or three mini organizations, or how one event led into one or more events in different phase of time. I struggled to understand all of these things.

Worse still, the vision of A level is becoming nearer, and the fact that I have to write 4 essays in a full 3 hours scares me. It really does. Moreover, realizing that my language is not as magnificent as my peers who take History intimidates me. I began to lose myself in lectures, not being able to keep up with what was being discussed in lessons anymore.

I'm kind of baffled (and amused at the same time) how History tests always have 'unique' timing. One time it was together with chemistry paper, another time it was with economics paper, and now it is before June Holiday (All other subjects have their tests after the June Holiday). I found out during my actual 'A' Level examination it is also held on the same day with Chemistry paper- oh, well.

So, with all of these things in mind, I began to question my motive of learning history- for the first time. It is not hard to pass, but it is VERY difficult to excel in it.

A (my teacher was being nice), E, C, D

C, (?), (?)

A Level:

I started to wonder if I made a mistake. Part of me wondered whether I could score better if I had taken another subject, part of me was guilty for even thinking that way.  All these thoughts finally got me. At one point, I stopped listening, I stopped loving History.

Well, not until just now.

I forced myself to pick up what I've left behind now that exam is nearing. I began to flip through my notes- it was hard, all of those words mean nothing to me. I kept forcing myself to read through all of them, highlighting some words if necessary. Searching for the meaning and definition of one word and another.

Internet is a big help to me- especially in studying History. I could look up for detailed explanations of one event, and I could seek for other people's opinions regarding of the events listed in my lecture notes. Without knowing that a couple of hours have passed, I finally finished reading the lecture notes.

After that few hours, I instantly felt happy. After a few months of not studying History, I felt like I have regained my interest back.

History teaches us about lives before we were born.

Stalin's Purges 

The World War II, the Cold War. The great leaders with amazing personalities. The civil wars that are still persisting even until today.

And what's great about studying History is that it's not limited to studying your lecture notes. You develop your skills by actually finding more things outside your notes.

While learning History, I witnessed times when some great figures were criticized for what they believed in. However, they did not care. It taught me that it is okay to fight against the current or to dream.

Winston Churchill is an example

Fidel Castro is another one

History also gives us hope, that changes are possible. The past has seen the abolishment of slavery, the end of cold war,  and the end of apartheid in South Africa.

Gorbachev (left) and Reagan (Right)

It also taught us how we have progressed together as human beings, how different yet how similar we are to our predecessors. How we are prone to repeat the mistake that they once made.

It taught us that despite our different cultures and races, we share the same past.

History offers the beauty of knowledge. It gives us information on origins of so many things happening today. Sometimes what happens around us seems to not make any sense. We will then choose to ignore them or maybe blindly follow them. Learning history ables us to have our own personal opinion on what's going on because we understand and know why things are the way they are.

So yeah, what does taking H1 History mean to me? For me it is an opportunity to be interested in something that I wouldn't have thought before. I am not confident of how my grade is going to be but, in the end I know that I'll just be grateful for this luxury of studying something that I love.

This is a very nerdy blog-post, huh? :))