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How the past informs the present

Features writer and editor for The Boar, Vice President of Warwick HisSoc and Deputy Editor of Warwick Politics Society’s Perspectives, alumna Celia Bergin (BA History and Politics, 2022) certainly made the most of her time at Warwick. Graduating with a first-class degree, she jumped straight into the world of journalism. Now working as a reporter for Bloomberg News, Celia reflects on how these experiences helped her get there.

Why Warwick, and why History?

Warwick had some of the most interesting History modules on offer when I was applying. It offered the opportunity to study such a range of timeframes, topics, and regions, and allowed me to build my course in a way that suited my interests too.

Favourite place on campus?

Piazza in the summer sun is an undefeated experience, even more so after Covid!

What’s your favourite memory?

Finding people throughout history who looked like me and ensuring we’re discussed in British higher education was very empowering. If I had to pinpoint one memory, it would be the day I submitted my dissertation. It was incredibly hard work, but to write a passion project that encompassed my interests and explored my own identity was so rewarding.

How has your degree influenced your thinking?

It’s made me aware of my individual impact on the world today. I spend a lot of time thinking about how we memorialise our time period for future generations and how they will look back at us? Will they think we’ve written about our world as factually as we can while existing within it? These are all things that influence my mindset as a journalist.

If you could meet one historical figure, who would it be?

I would love to spend a day picking the mind of bell hooks. She was such a smart woman, and getting to hear her wisdom and advice on how to navigate life would be a joy.

What makes Warwick graduates special?

I think we have a special tenacity for finding each other after we’ve left university and continuing to build on the shared connection of being at a close-knit campus community.

What would you say to someone considering History at Warwick?

Warwick gave me so much space to explore history in a creative and exciting way. I got to work on some of the most interesting, original pieces of work. I made a podcast on Hamilton and used Gemma Collins Big Brother memes as a source of cyber folklore. If you want to explore History widely, and not be crammed into a box after years of mandatory school curriculums, Warwick is a great place to do so.

Studying History and Politics helped me…
  • Get used to reading long documents, and summarising large pieces of information in a way that a general audience can understand.
  • Practise technical skills that are helpful as a journalist, like audio editing and creating multimedia projects.
  • Get comfortable with saying ‘yes’ to things that are outside my comfort zone and experiment with who I am. For everything I tried, I gained something – be it a friend, knowledge, or a good story to tell.
  • See the value of building friendships and a sense of community. Without being involved in societies, I don’t think I would have started my career so soon after graduating. Plus, Taekwondo helped me realise that I can enjoy sport and how good it is for my mental health.
  • Understand how History can prepare us for the future. There’s a TikTok trend that draws parallels between the past and modern day: People have been wearing make-up, doing silly drawings in notebooks, and writing jokes for centuries and will continue to do these lovely, innately human things forever. And things have also changed – marginalised people of the past would revel in what their ancestors are living and achieving now – and that’s equally great to remember.
  • Keep high standards as a journalist because I’ve seen how important newspapers are as a way for people to engage with the past. I always want to write accurately, with clarity and ensure my work is written in an accessible way to everyone today and in the future.

Photo of Celia Bergin in a grey jacket