In the southern hemisphere the history exams have come and gone and you are preparing to finish your high school career if you are a second year IB student. In the northern hemisphere, well, students are waiting – hoping – that winter break will soon be upon them. There are Extended Essays to finish up, semester exams and a movement towards graduation that is both exciting and scary. In both cases you have a well-deserved break ahead of you.
Now, I know that, if asked, what you will do during holidays, most of you would like to say ‘absolutely nothing’ but that’s really not possible. As an IB history student you have become inquisitive and inherently analytical. You cannot look at a newspaper article without automatically OPVL’ing it and even half-listening to the news can prompt critical questions. What is a history student to do when there is a break?
Well, there is historical fiction – Ken Follett recently released Edge of Eternity, the final book in his Century Trilogy. If you want to read more about the Cold War, this is as good a place as any. You can also go back and read about either world war in Fall of Giants or Winter of the World. They are all rather lengthy tomes but also quick reads. However, this may be too western for you; the main characters are from the US, UK, Germany and Russia/USSR. There are plenty of other novels out there – just ask your language A teacher, who will probably be thrilled that you are interested in reading for pleasure. But, don’t be surprised if you are invited into a world of dusty Victorian novels, especially if your teacher has a pony tail and is a swing dancer.
There are also all of those movies that you begged your history teacher to watch in class. Dr. Zhivago, Enemy at the Gates, Black Hawk Down, Gallipoli, Lawrence of Arabia, Year of Living Dangerously, Dr. Strangelove, Full Metal Jacket, To Live, Land of Freedom – watch them! Analyze them, try to find historical inaccuracies. It will be fun – trust me!
Or, if you want to review, check out Crash Course History on youtube. The fault is not just in his stars – he delivers entertaining and accurate overviews of the main events in world history – according to him. You will enjoy the frenetic pace and commentary on the side.
Go the local history museum! You have spent all this time on world history, discover your backyard.
Now that you aren’t in class, remember, history is fun! You don’t hear about amateur chemists or economists, but there are amateur historians the world over who enjoy the subject just because. Become one of them.