Why Study History


John Martello, Copy Editor & Treasurer |

“History is who we are and why we are the way we are.” – David McCullough 

Everyone knows the famed quote, “History repeats itself”. While many historians have proven this claim to be relatively true, I believe it is important to settle on Mark Twain’s view. Twain famously said, “History never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme”. History, when thought through and reflected heavily, gives us an understanding of the current forces in society. Rather than thinking “Why did this happen?”, history provides us with the answer.

It is a common occurrence for people to find history boring. I was once part of this majority. However, once I got to college, I began to understand the power of history. The best thing about history is that there is so much to learn, so if your high school teacher bored you to death with United States history, you can research or read about a different field of history. For example, when I was in high school, I despised European history. I could understand it at all. However, once I got to college, I instantly became fascinated with learning about French, German, and British history.

One of the most important skills the study of history provides us is the ability to analyze and argue different perspectives. Historians engage in active listening and critical thinking, as they chart viewpoints across centuries of historical events. While conducting research, historians use high levels of comprehension, communication, and contextualization to fully immerse themselves in different historical eras and periods. These skills allow historians to excel in a variety of fields and help them to become highly critical of the world around them.

The list is endless for those who ask, “What can be done with studying history?”. History teaches skills that are needed in a variety of fields, not just academia. For example, Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson graduated with a history degree. Outside of politics, famous chef Julia Child, novelist Anthony Doerr (All the Light We Cannot See), Jimmy Buffet, and even Steve Carrell (The Office, Despicable Me), all majored in history while in college. It may seem hard, but an actor, a writer, a chef, and a singer all relied on history to get to where they are. 

In short, history helps all of us. While not everyone is as fascinated with history (as the writer is), I believe that everyone can find a point of interest in the historical field. As the world continues to adapt, the study of history remains important to the central understanding of current affairs. For those at SUNY Oneonta interested in studying history, visit the History Department in Bacon Hall for more opportunities and information!

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.