Hello my name is Tom White and I am the writer of Perspectives of the Past and responsible for all its content. My purpose for creating this blog was twofold. First I wanted to provide a site which both instructors and students use, one which would provide typical writing examples of the many different types of history assignments that one might encounter while taking history courses. Hopefully by seeing what the different assignments look like it, it will make your studies a bit easier and enable you to use your time more productively.
My second purpose for creating this blog was to share some of my own academic experiences and provide some encouragement to others who are considering studying history but have felt overwhelmed by the process.
First of all I am a non-traditional student, and I did not begin by historical studies until I was in my forties, my point being that if I can do it anyone can do it. I think I got my first real taste for history from my mother, who as an immigrant from Ireland often kept me spellbound as child with stories from the old country. Even with the seed for history planted while growing up, I still followed a different career path. In my family I had two older brothers; the oldest who always distinguished himself in school went on after high school to attend college. I on the other hand instead chose to enlist in the military. I having been the recipient of too many John Wayne movies joined the Marine Corps where besides learning to shoot well became a truck mechanic. It seemed that I had found my calling as a mechanic until a series of events and good fortune led me into a different career direction, yet still not in a historical field. However, despite all of the typical life changes which I like so many others encountered I never lost my desire for historical study.Nonetheless one life altering event which I do credit as moving me onto the path of historical study was meeting my wife Margie. Margie who is a college instructor is the one who encouraged me to take my first history course, where one thing led to another. Before I knew it, I had completed an AA degree in history, and then a BA, an MA, and now I find myself teaching social studies at a junior high school. The point I want to make is that by only focusing on what was directly in front of me this whole process was not as intimidating like I thought it would be. Also one bit of advice that I found helpful is to remember that learning process should be something that you are doing for yourself, so be nice to yourself and relax.
Finally one last point I would like to make. History for me has never been the robotic memorization of dates and events, but is instead the story behind event. Not the celebratory history which idealizes a few great men, but the social history which instead focuses upon the whole picture, people, and culture, warts and all. My original intention which started out at taking one or two courses at a community college has instead turned out to be something much more fulfilling and rewarding. So for whatever reason you find yourself here at my blog, I hope you find it helpful and look I forward to your comments.