HTTP Profile: Tiia Sahrakorpi
Over the next few months, we at HTTP are going to showcase our writers in a more human light – after all, most of them are human – interviewing them about their personal lives and their research. Next up is Tiia Sahrakorpi, our blog editor…
How did you get into studying History?
My middle school and high school history teacher, Steven, gave the most fascinating history lectures. He would provide commentary on historical events and analysis that brought the material alive. Steven’s lectures would leave you feeling inspired and enlightened (though he would just deny this!), so I always had an affinity for history.
But truth be told, I was (and still am) a complete Hermione Granger and took all the courses I could in almost every subject. So when it came to deciding which exams to take for the Finnish A-Level exams (ylioppilaskokeet), I was a wreck and wanted to take all the exams (I took higher maths just because and didn’t end up in the sciences like all my friends). I ended up not taking the History A-Level, instead opting for religious studies, philosophy and many others.
Why did you choose to study History as an undergraduate?
My path into History began when I was accepted into North Park University in Chicago, and I applied for a history scholarship there, the Hahn Scholarship. I received it, and so I decided to opt out of university in Finland (it was just too mainstream for me, haha). When I began my undergraduate studies, I was unsure if I would really even like studying History. All my fears were swept away by amazing, inspiring professors (you know who you are). Ever since, I’ve wanted to push myself into learning as much as I can about all kinds of different fields of History — not just my own.
What do you plan to do after finishing your degree?
I have a few dreams. My first one is to teach students history, either in the UK, US, or journey back to Finland. Secondly, I would like to work at the BBC as a consultant for historical documentaries and films. That would be the dream, I think. It would be fun to get to work on new topics and bring ‘academic’ history to a more general level.
And finally, give us three favourites…
As I previously wrote, I cannot decide on which one this would be. Sorry!
Favourite quote / phrase?
My favourite quote is a Bible verse from the New Testament, Mark 12:31. It is: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ It’s one phrase that’s always stuck with me, throughout my teenage years till today. I think we often forget how important respect is in our busy world today, and people often treat us badly and vice versa. But even so, we have to accept people for who they are and respect them. It’s really tough to do, so I always think about this when I face difficult situations.
Favourite (or most personally significant) historical figure?
This is tricky. When I was in school, I admired Napoleon a lot because of his bad-assery (wait, can I say that on a history blog?!). After reading more history, and realising life exists out of admiring Napoleon, a lot of people spring to mind: Mary Wollstonecraft, Susan B. Anthony, Oscar Wilde… Indeed, there are many I admire for being brave and ‘living on the nerve of the period’ (as in elää ajan hermolla) even in the face of opposition.