November 9, 2014

With math and science at the forefront of most academic syllabuses, it is easy to understand why a more language-based subject, such as history, is often overlooked. Students, more often encouraged to pursue careers in the fields of engineering, medicine, or computer science as technology advances, find increasingly less support from teachers and parents alike if they wish to pursue history as a field of study. Some students may even consider studying the subject a waste of time.

History, however, has been a subject taught in some of the earliest organized school systems and it remains relevant even in our time and age. A subject that relies heavily on the study of source materials, it not only improves reading proficiency but also teaches students important critical thinking and analytic skills. History students are encouraged to study historical events from various points of view, which allow them to fine-tune their analytic skills. The most beneficial aspect of the skills obtained from a history course is the fact that these skills are transferable and can be applied to any field of study. In a time when jobs are becoming increasingly scarce, having these enhanced analytic and language communication skills can go a long way in standing out to employers.

History itself is a very relevant field of study. Nothing in the world is without cause, and often times there are a multitude of ‘causes’. Studying the history of countries, organizations, and even individuals can give one a unique perspective on why certain events played out the way they did. This knowledge, when applied within the current context, can help one make more deeply informed decisions and perhaps even predict the outcomes of these decisions. As George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it”.

Beyond these more practical reasons for studying history, it can also been argued that historical knowledge makes one sound wonderfully posh. What better material for cocktail banter than the origins of the Cold War or other obscurities such as the Potsdam Conference of 1945?

History is a long standing field of study that will always remain relevant. Offering students a useful set of skills along with a unique perspective on current issues, this subject is immensely important in high schools and should continue to be taught with the same enthusiasm as the maths and sciences. After all, the history students of tomorrow will write the histories of today.