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History - Giles Reid

Giles Reid grew up in Edinburgh where he attended the Edinburgh Academy. He graduated from St John's in 2007 with a double first, and is continuing his studies at Harvard University, where he is the Joseph Hodges Choate Memorial Fellow.

'The history tripos at Cambridge is both wonderful and unusual in that it allows you to do pretty much what you want pretty much most of the time. Over my three years, I did principally modern history – covering Britain, Britain’s empire, and the USA – in addition to a paper covering an earlier period of European history. All were interesting (although some more so than others), and the remarkable choice of papers, combined with the freedom which I was given by supervisors to pursue my own interests within them made for a very rewarding experience. St John’s provides an excellent environment for this, with a large library, very generous book grants, as well as fellows who are both friendly and stimulating teachers. Together with the events put on by the college history society, this allows you to feel that you are a John’s historian, rather than simply a historian at St John’s.

Three years of this does not seem nearly enough. Reluctantly, however, I have left, and will be spending the next year at Harvard University as a Special Student, doing a wider range of subjects than simply history. The year after, I hope to return to St John’s to do postgraduate research, based around my undergraduate dissertation on ‘The Scottish State Trials of 1817, Whiggery, and Scottish Political Culture’, which I found to be the most rewarding and interesting of all of my courses. In all of this, the support of St John’s has been invaluable: both the college and the course have provided me with marvellous intellectual, academic, and social experiences.'

  - Giles Reid, graduated 2007