Lia Gillett, a Media Studies student at Kent, takes us through an average week.
Tell us a bit about your weekly life on campus including; lectures, seminars, study time, work or 1:1 with staff.
Well, this term my life on campus is quite compact (which I personally love). I have my lectures on a Tuesday and tend to go to the library straight after to type up my notes so they’re clearer. I try get any work done such as readings or seminar prep ready for Thursday where its early wake up for a 9am Video Gaming seminar followed by my Media Ethics seminar. These are really good opportunities to ask questions about anything you don’t really get, I like how small the groups are, it helps you get comfortable with speaking and expressing your opinions. If there’s anything I’m still struggling with I tend to just stay behind and ask the seminar leader or shoot them an email either with the question or asking for a call or meeting to help me out.
How many contact hours are on your course? Is this easy to manage and balance with your social life/work life?
Per week I have 7 contact hours split between 2, 1hour lectures and 2, 2hour seminars per module (I do 2, 30credit modules per term) and a hands-on workshop for my Gaming module on a Tuesday afternoon. It takes a bit of time to adjust and balance your studying, because although there are barely any contact hours, it’s really important to stay on the ball with all the work. I’d say for every contact hour I do about 2hours of personal studying and research… But once you get the hang of it, and that happens in the first couple weeks to a month it’s fine and you can catch-up with work really easily. As for the social aspect, most evenings my house cooks together and we have some drinks or go out. University is a really great place to find like-minded people, I came to Kent not knowing anyone and have met some really interesting people and made some really good friendships!
How many different modules do you cover over the week? How did you choose your modules? Did you choose any wild modules?
Module choices will vary from one course to the next, I am currently in my second year studying Media. All the module I chose are 30credits each, per year I have to make up 120credits (some modules can be 15). So, per term I have been studying 2modules, currently Media Ethics and Video Gaming which are both very interesting and so different but do go hand in hand. I originally chose Screenwriting but wasn’t fully understanding it, so I applied to change modules and moved over to Video Gaming which I thoroughly enjoy! And Media Ethics was my compulsory for my 2nd year, but there is still a vast number of options within the module for example the essay aspect you can chose from 4different case studies, which helped me a lot because I only really connected with one case
How much do you travel to get onto campus?
So, I was in Parkwood for my first year, unfortunately this was during COVID so I didn’t have anything in person, but it is about a 10minute walk to the Library which is at the centre of all the buildings. I wanted to live in a house rather than halls purely because I thought it would be more social. I lived in Ellenden Court, in one of the 6 bed houses, with two bathrooms. It was me, 4 other girls and one boy, I now live with one of the girls and we are really really good friends. One of the girls was quite shy, the other socialised but wasn’t that into drinking and the last one loved a good night out. There’s such a huge mix of people at university and that is one of the reasons I love it so much.
Currently I live near town, I work a bit all over sometimes at the university and sometimes in town so it’s a perfect fit for me roughly 10mins from town centre and 30mins from campus which flies by when you’re walking. Depending on the day, sometimes I’ll walk and for my 9AM I drive because I want that extra half hour in bed. There is accommodation available right next to campus, less than a 20min walk though, I think Hales Place has lots of student houses so that might be a good place to look for 2nd year housing. But best advice, start looking around December-January time, it’ll take off so much stress.
What is the social scene like in Canterbury on and off campus?
I work in security, so I don’t really go out that much only because I have really late nights and these usually fall on Wednesday (social night), Friday or Saturday. But there is a good nightlife here from the university campus “Venue” to the clubs and bars in town. Club Cuban is really good on a Monday night, they have their student nights, Club Chemistry has some good events on so its worthwhile keeping an eye out. Tokyo tearooms and City Terrace do a really good cocktail. But mainly it depends on what you like… One of my favourite restaurants is called Zaytoona, it’s a Moroccan restaurant in town, I just love the food there. But there’s every different type of restaurant from Mexican to Italian and all the fast-food chains you can think of, and of course there’s not one but two spoons!
Do you work alongside your studies?
I do work alongside my studies, I work in security which involves a lot of late nights, but the good thing is that it doesn’t interfere with my day-to-day life and studies because my shifts are in the evening. My shifts vary from week to week one day I’ll do a 14hr shift and the next it’ll be 2hours. I also work as a student ambassador for the university which involves helping on open days, talking to prospective students, doing campus tours. I really enjoy both jobs because they enable me to communicate with others and meet new (very interesting) people and I’m a big believer of it’s not what you know but who you know.
What would be your main advice to prospective students looking to join the community here at Kent?
My top tip? Join every single WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram group you can, for your course, accommodation and especially the freshers’ chats. If there aren’t any yet, then create them, that’s what I did! Honestly, I can sit here and say your stress will go away but what really helps is seeing that others are in the same boat as you at the same time as you. So, take a deep breath, take your time choosing where to stay and what to study because it does all work out for the best.