Catriona Eade is in her second year studying Digital Arts – check out her story

What attracted you to studying at Kent?

I looked at several universities and Kent seemed to have the best option for what I wanted to do. I previously lived in Australia, even though I’m from the UK, and Australia just didn’t seem to have anything in terms of 3-D modelling, which is what I’m really interested in. Kent just looked really nice and when I visited it, I really liked the campus. I much prefer campus universities to inner-city universities. I was attracted by the societies, too, because it meant I could do stuff with like-minded people.

How is your course going so far?

It’s really interesting because we learn a wide variety of different things. It’s not a standard graphic design or gaming course: we learn coding; we learn photography, film-making, 3-D modelling and animation; also standard graphic design. We learn about visual arts as well because you need to know the history of art before you can actually learn how to develop it into newer concepts.

Do you have a favourite module so far?

Definitely the module on digital effects, and what I’m currently doing, which is 3-D modelling: professional 3-D and compositing. I’ve always been really interested in 3-D; I started to teach myself how to do it when I was 15.

What do you think of the support you receive from your lecturers?

We have our academic advisers who are very easy to contact and it’s always very easy to just email a lecturer if you’ve got any questions. And they’re more than willing to help you if you’re getting stuck on a subject. They run a lot of drop-in sessions; we’ve requested more, which they have provided, so that’s really useful.

What are your fellow students like?

This course attracts a certain kind of  person – most of us like video games and lots of us like comic books, movies and TV shows. So it attracts like-minded people, which is always really fun because it’s very easy to make friends on this course.

Tell us about the facilities for your course.

I think the facilities are good – there are computer rooms in pretty much every building, which is always very useful, especially with the printers as well. And I’m just thinking of the library, how it’s a massive hub full of learning materials, so if you need anything, go to the library and you’ve got it!

My course is based in the Jennison building and we can have 24-hour access, which is great if you’re running late with stuff because you can do all-nighters in the lab. It means you have 100% access to everything you need.

Are you planning to spend a year in industry next year?

Yes! Everyone I’ve talked to who’s come back from the year of industry has said what a great experience it was, and it’s always a great thing to put on your CV obviously. The application process takes time, and you have to stay dedicated and get used to being rejected. But it does give you a good insight into the working world because you might make ten applications and just hear back from three. I’ve had lots of help from the careers service – my adviser is very calming and reassuring, as well as helping me to draft my cv and cover letter. She also sets up mock interviews and gives pointers if I have to do a presentation at an interview.

You mentioned that you moved here from Australia – how was your experience of settling in at Kent?

I don’t think it was too hard to move to university after living outside the UK. I’ve lived in three different countries, so for me, moving is just a part of life. It helps that Kent has a big international community, and because Canterbury is a tourist destination you see people from many other countries when you’re out and about in town as well. Although it’s a bigger step if you’re moving internationally, once you’re living on campus, you’re in the same situation as everyone else – everyone has moved away from their family. You make friends with people living in your house or flat quite easily. I was in Turing and so you can just go to Hut 8 and meet people, which is really good. Joining a society is a very easy way to make friends as well.

What societies are you in?

I joined the Hogwarts Society last year, and really enjoyed it, so I joined the committee. I’m the marketing co-ordinator, so I make banners, posters, flyers, and any graphical materials we need for events. We do different activities surrounding the world of Harry Potter and the books. We also have a book club. When we start the year off, we do the sorting ceremony where everyone is sorted into whichever Hogwarts house they’re in, which is always a lot of fun. We get a lot of freshers who come to get sorted. We also have big events, like the Yule Ball at the end of the first term. Then we also have the Triwizard Cup, which is our big competition, and an end-of-year feast. This weekend, we’re going on a trip to the Warner Bros studio to do the studio tour.

I’ve also just been made a student ambassador, so I’ll be working at my first applicant day later this week. I’m passionate about the course and the University and my department, so why not show some new people around? And it’s also a good thing to have on my CV.

What about spending time off campus? Any recommendations?

There’s a laser tag centre n town. Lots of pubs and restaurants. Just wandering around town, that’s always a good thing. I really like it because it’s pretty. I got some photos inside the cathedral for my photography unit.

What are your career plans?

I really want to go into special effects and films, doing 3-D modelling for special effects. My dream is to work on the Fantastic Beasts films, doing the special effects. I would love to be able to work with such incredible people who’ve produced these amazing visual effects in films. I actually started on the Multimedia Technology and Design degree but my academic adviser suggested I switch to Digital Arts because I can do more special effects work on this course. Making the switch was easy because the courses have the same modules in the first term.

What advice would you give to somebody thinking of coming to Kent?

I’d say make sure you look around before you apply, and know what you want. I knew I liked campus universities and, even though it was torrentially raining and sleeting when I came to visit Kent, I still wanted to come here. Going to university is a big move, so think long and hard about it; don’t just go somewhere because your friend is going there.