I am often asked why I chose to study geography and, for me, the answer is very clear: to learn more about the world in which I live. A vague answer? Yes – but that’s what is so wonderful about the subject of geography: there is no universal definition or conceptualisation of what it is or what it should encompass.
‘Everything has to do with Geography, and Geography has to do with everything’ (Judy Martz) is one of my favourite quotes because, in my opinion, it really sums up the essence of the subject. Throughout my time at King’s I’ve been given the opportunity to study everything from water and development to political ecology, natural hazards, terrorism and public health. I have come away with such an in-depth but wide-ranging knowledge and understanding about so many different aspects of life, which has constantly challenged the way I see the world around me.
Undoubtedly, however, the biggest credit to the subject has been in its ability to transform me into such an inquisitive member of society, who is constantly wanting to probe into why and how different processes take place, and what can be done to change these for the better. As a human geographer, my focus is on understanding the dynamics of cultures, societies and economies and putting this in the context of places in order to recognise the differences across the world.
The relevance of the subject is like no other – it changes by the minute, adapting to the dynamic world with which it is concerned. So many of the world’s current issues – at a global scale and locally – boil down to geography, and require the inquisitive and problem-solving nature of the discipline in order to help solve them. Without an understanding of the world around us – the people, processes, systems and structures involved – key issues cannot be addressed. Said best by Michael Palin: ‘Geography is a subject which holds the key to our future’ – and after three years of studying it, I couldn’t agree more!
Geography is, in the broadest sense, an education for life and for living. The knowledge that you can expect to gain through studying it – whether achieved through formal teaching or experientially through travel and fieldwork – will undoubtedly help shape you into a more socially and environmentally sensitive, informed and responsible citizen. As a result, the career options after completing the degree are endless, and the skills learnt throughout the degree are hugely transferable and incredibly in-demand.
With the rate in which our world’s environment and society are changing, combined with the growing interest and attention on issues such as climate change, development and social cohesion, there really has never been a better or more important time to study geography. It is one of the most relevant courses you can choose to study and undeniably helps to stimulate your interest in and wonder about places, people and the environment.
Stephanie, BA Geography