Phil Duhamel

History, 2015

Phil Duhamel

Since I’ve arrived I have enjoyed the variety of modules of offer. I have never felt like I’ve chosen a module to fill a gap in my timetable, quite the contrary there have been modules I wish I could have taken but have simply had to opt for others over them

School History teachers helped to nurture Phil Duhamel’s early love of History. He choose to study at Brookes because he knew the well-respected subject would prepare him for a wide range of jobs.

I particularly like early modern history and I was attracted to Brookes because of the variety of modules. The periods and topics on offer goes beyond the 20th century history and world wars that we studied (very extensively!) at school. Brookes offers quite a lot of cultural and social history modules too, something which I especially appreciate because it allows me to use a lot of primary sources, my favourite part of studying history. Finally, I was attracted to Oxford itself, which of course has its own storied history and access to the Bodleian library.

Since I’ve arrived I have enjoyed the variety of modules of offer. I have never felt like I’ve chosen a module to fill a gap in my timetable, quite the contrary there have been modules I wish I could have taken but have simply had to opt for others over them.

Outside the course, there are also plenty of extra talks put on by both the lecturers and visiting speakers, on topics such as the JFK assassination or Serial Killer duos that allow for an even wider appreciation of history.

All of the tutors have been extremely helpful and generous with their time. I’ve found that they promptly reply to my incessant emails, make themselves almost constantly available for tutorials, or will share their personal books and work to help students with their work.

One member of staff that I’ve found particularly helpful is Professor Joanne Bailey. On one of my third year courses, Making Men, she set up a Facebook page which allowed students to easily get help from one another but also to share any helpful sources or even just interesting tidbits related to the module. This was something which I found especially helpful throughout the entire module which itself was probably the most enjoyable of the whole course.

I especially enjoy the amount of culture there is in Oxford, there are several music venues, endless pubs, theaters, and museums such as the Ashmolean. So whatever I fancy doing there is always something on offer. Oxford is busy but never feels overcrowded and is small enough that you very quickly get your bearings but there are other areas like Cowley and Headington which offer a different experience to Oxford city centre.

I’d definitely love to go into a career that allows me to write. I feel like the skills learned through history would transfer well to something like journalism so that would be ideal for me. The course has given me a lot that I think will help me in my future career. The group-work elements of some of the modules have helped me to assert my opinion much more and to actually take some control of projects. In particular, our small work groups of two to four people has meant that nobody can really hide and everyone has to put some work in. I think more than anything it is the social skills in a working environment that will have a large impact; getting to know people quickly and work with them efficiently towards a shared goal will definitely be something useful in nearly any career. Giving presentations as part of the course has given me more confidence in selling a certain point, which will help me sell myself to potential employers.

Brookes is a well-respected university and the History course in particular always ranks well in the tables. Judging by the new buildings, Brookes will only go from strength to strength.