Liam Abrahams is undertaking an MSc in Cancer Biology.
What attracted you to Kent?
I was interested in the field of Cancer and wanted to learn more. Whilst researching different courses online, the content of the course at Kent described by the module outlines gained my interest instantly making my choice easy.
What do you feel is different about your postgraduate study experience compared to undergraduate?
Studying at a postgraduate level is a very different experience with more of the focus on self-study and outside reading. The small group numbers of 10-15 allow more personal learning experience whilst the seminars are always interactive – although the lecturer will lead the seminar there is often a lot of discussion about novel ideas or current issues in the field. This allows for a more open scope in what is covered during the course which is highlighted by the broad and open topics that are assessed.
How is the teaching?
The teaching on the course is of high quality but also very engaging. Each lecturer is a specialist in their field which makes questioning and understanding easier. The lecturers are also very approachable and I have no hesitation asking them questions as I am made to feel part of the team.
How would you describe your fellow students?
My fellow students are all very hard working and inquisitive. Having completed my undergraduate degree in Mathematics with Biology sometimes concepts will be completely new to me and everyone else may understand, however the lecturers explain with as much sense and simplicity as possible.
What skills have you gained?
Having not been in many lab based situations before, the first semester lab project brings everyone up to the same level and allowed for me to learn the standard techniques. My scientific writing skills have vastly improved during the course as well as presenting skills – a reflection on the wide range of assessments that are used on the course and the feedback provided.
Has Kent been a good place for aspects of student life outside of your academic studies?
I trampoline 6 times a week for which I placed 18th in the Loulé World Cup, Portugal for Great Britain in 2012. Due to this I am studying part time whilst training. Although training and coaching takes up a vast deal of my time, I have always felt that I have had enough time to complete outside reading and assignments without being under too much pressure. The structure of the course has also been beneficial to balancing academic work and sport. I have had specific help in terms of Strength and Conditioning, which has been extremely beneficial in helping my general fitness level, as well as funding from Kent Sport through their scholarship scheme.
What skills have you gained in support of your future career?
Aside from academic benefits, the main skills I have developed would be my communication skills. Prior to the course I would have been happy to sit and listen; however the manner in which the course is run helps to build confidence in asking questions at any point which in turn makes learning much easier.
What advice would you give to prospective students?
The advice I would give is to be open and ask questions, no matter how stupid they may seem. By reading around the topic before seminars also makes a big difference as it allows you to contribute to discussions rather than learning about it there and then. There is a big focus on the course of two-way discussions which is extremely beneficial in learning and applying the ideas presented.