English Personal Statement (Quincy Tan)

Quincy Tan is currently studying English at King’s College London. Quincy completed her A-Levels at Kolej Tuanku Ja’afar and is graduating in 2021.  This personal statement was part of her successful application to King’s College London, Durham University, University of Warwick, University of Bristol and University of Surrey for English.

Communication, creativity and expression: at the global forefront of these is the English Language. It was at a University of Bristol talk on English and Globalisation that sparked my critical concern of the pervasiveness of English, but also brought to light the underappreciation for its artistry. In literature class at school, I first discovered the power of carefully selected diction, emotive metaphors, and the subtlety of the author’s message; I realised how neglected the language was outside of base functionalities, its power to evoke vibrancy and beauty largely untapped. Exposure to such formidable inner workings deepened my appreciation of Literature hence resulted in a desire to pursue it at university.

Hoping to challenge literary expression, I took to creative writing to explore literature as a craft, experimenting with narratives focused on my experiences and opinions. My inspirations come from my favourite novelists: Lahiri’s luminous style, and Dahl’s coyly morbid short stories. Short stories have become a medium for my literary expression, one example being a story I wrote titled ‘Peppermint’ that traverses the qualms of love through pathos and apathy, the detailed imagery gearing it towards emotional acceptance.

The vibrantly mundane poetry of Siken inspired me to delve into a surreal and abstract landscape in my poetry. I find the flexibility of modern poetry to offer its own unique emotiveness. The dreamlike imagery of my favourite poem, Siken’s Scheherazade, embodies a distinct poetic presence; such poetic presence is reflective of what I wish to harness through the creative writing elements of my university course. Presently, I have written poems centred largely around expressing observations of modern social issues, like neurodivergence, through intensely abstract allegory. Aside from challenging literary genre, I also find it intriguing how the author’s intent becomes victim to the reader’s scrutiny. Having read Barthes’ ‘Death of the Author’, the concept of bartering the author’s intent for the reader’s whims made me question to what extent such a sacrifice is inevitable. This exploration has led me to permutations of themes and literature that, combined with my sensitivity towards the nuances of language, has formed my own unique works and writing style.

Reading articles regarding social contexts, as well as critical analyses of authors, has enhanced my contextual knowledge surrounding my studied texts, such as the opulence of the Regency era that frames Austen’s work. My reading has also extended towards the emergence of literature. Culler’s ‘Literary Theory A Very Short Introduction’ invited me to question literature’s construction, giving me insight on the definition of literature; this has led me to great eagerness in studying literary theory at university.

I also seek to apply my literary skills on a practical field. As head of the journalism club, this included aiding students of varying language levels with writing, giving me valuable leadership and communication skills. This would enable me to contribute optimally to my course at university while grasping the ideas of others. My experience in copywriting with an online shopping app had me adapt my writing to best epitomise the visions of my clients, the exposure to such an application of language building my creativity and flexibility.

Attending a summer programme helped me develop my grasp of literary study. In studying artistic movements and their impacts on literature, I was fascinated by the sways of societal change on writers. Discussing “literary value” led me to read more on matters like Derrida’s theory of supplementation. With every novel discussed, poem written, or theory traversed, my fire to explore literature grows ever ardent. Literature can be defined by its intertextuality: those who partake in it continue to challenge what it is and what it can be, and it would be an honour to become a greater part of its discovery.


DISCLAIMER: The personal statements on this site are strictly meant as a starting point to give an idea of how successful personal statements look like. There is no surefire formula to writing good personal statements. COLLEGELAH IS STRICTLY AGAINST PLAGIARISM OF ANY KINDUCAS employs a plagiarism check system that checks applicants’ work against other published writing so please DO NOT PLAGIARISE.


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