Kyle Gilde (1st Quarter, 2006)

1st Quarter, 2006
Liberal Arts Scholarship Winner
Kyle Gilde

“I was excited to be accepted at UCLA which has a research-oriented history program, and I began my first quarter there in the fall of 2005. It was a huge adjustment for me to move across the country, where I had neither relatives nor friends. Equally as trying was the transition from the academic workload of community college to the much more considerable workload assigned to me at this new institution. However, after sweating through the first quarter, I received grades that I was quite satisfied with.”

A Portion of Kyle’s Winning Essay:

Kyle Gilde

The idea of studying the liberal arts is relatively new to me as the thought never occurred to me in high school. However, after a year of Bible college my academic interests began to gravitate in that direction. During my two years at community college that interest directed me toward the social sciences and solidified in my decision to major in history with a political science minor. Moreover, those two years maintained my long-standing hobbies in the humanities and also revealed my enjoyment of studying philosophy.

In contrast to my present inclinations, math was always my favorite subject since about first grade. In high school my enthusiasm waned, and I began to desire an educational direction that was more personable and interactive. A few years later my interest in history and politics was sparked during the controversial months leading up to the Iraq War, and it was piqued during the 2004 election cycle.

Whenever I thought about politics and national events, I always narrowed in on the historical aspects behind them and found that studying the past was the most thorough and intriguing way to understand the present. As I began taking history courses, my inquisitiveness forced me beyond the facts and events of national figures and states to the people underlying the surface events. The circumstances of the average citizen came to concern me more than any particular historical figure or fact.

In American history, the struggles of both industrial laborers and nineteenth century farmers never cease to capture my attention. This fascination with people created a curiosity about how societies are organized. Hence, I enrolled in two sociology classes and would like to take more in the future.

Another area of history I intend to study is the non-western world through the lens of comparative analysis. Comparative history involves analyzing the perspectives of all the participating parties in a historical event. My intention is to learn about the nations that are taken for granted by American histories. Using this method, one would learn about World War II from the Japanese perspective and western exploration and colonization from the perspective of the conquered Asian and African peoples.

As I began to learn a little about non-western peoples, I became conscious of their present poverty-stricken conditions, which led me to take a class on the principles of macro-economics that connects the western world to them. Subsequently, my future studies will contain at least one more course on macro-economics and globalization.

Since my childhood, I have almost always been involved in art and music. I took four years of art in high school and will still occasionally draw when I need a break from my studies. Music has also been an outlet to express my creativity through writing songs on my acoustic guitar or by playing bass guitar in a band. These hobbies led me to take humanities courses on film history and rock music. My love of contemplating these ways in which individuals express and view themselves and their realities eventually led me to take all the philosophy courses offered at my community college. Again, just as I am intrigued by comparative history, my mind is fascinated by the differing philosophical perspectives of Socrates, Thomas Aquinas and David Hume.

Ultimately, I want to incorporate the relevant parts of the social sciences and humanities into the way I will teach history to liberal arts students. As your website suggests, the liberal arts encompasses many majors and is a common choice made by college students. As such, I want to be a professor who cultivates not only the critical thinking of future history majors but one who also piques the interest of any liberal arts student who enrolls in a history class.

My goal is to present history in a dynamic and memorable manner that makes each individual a little bit more aware of the world around them. My intention in including the ideas of the social sciences and philosophy as well as the works of the humanities will be to tell a history that is robust and meaningful. Beyond teaching, I also want to interact with the present world of ideas by taking opportunities to do research, to travel abroad and perhaps write for periodicals or other types of publications. Hopefully, becoming a history professor will allow me to both teach and pursue these extra-curricular activities.

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