Meet History student: Gabriela Williams

We caught up with BA (Hons) History student, Gabriela, to find out more about her time and experience at Kent.

What has been your favourite module so far, and why?

Cultural History of the First World War in Britain, France and Germany – The course used a really interesting comparative approach and I loved learning about War Graves, religious beliefs and even railways!

What made you decide to study your course at University of Kent?

Kent has an amazing selection of optional modules and allows you a lot of choice in what you study. As someone who is personally only interested in Early Modern and Modern History this was great as I did not have to study Ancient or Medieval History I could just focus on topics which interest me. This also works the other way around as I have friends who love Medieval so focus on that in their module choices.

During the lockdown, how have you found studying your course?

Our seminar leaders have been great about adapting their courses the best they can so I don’t feel I have missed out at all by studying online this year. We have even been offered additional guest lectures like we normally would just online allowing us to pursue even more interests as we don’t have to organise travelling in to campus for each one.

When you were able to be on campus, where did you spend most of your time?

The campus has lots of great spots to sit, either to chat with friends or to do some work. Depending on weather, I could usually be found either outside, in the library or in one of the various food spots on campus.

Are you a part of any sports or societies? And if so, what’s been your experience? Would you recommend them to fellow/new students and why?

I am part of the History Society and would definitely recommend joining a society to new students. The lovely team running the society have managed to keep events running online this year and it helps maintain some sense of normality despite it being difficult to interact with fellow students on the same level during these unprecedented times. I also found last year that many people found groups of friends through the society and their socials.

During the lockdown, how have you been keeping social and catching up with friends?

We have been doing the normal things – zoom calls, quizzes and catching up via messages. Despite all being very spread out we are all going through the same experience with our course and lifestyle at the moment so it’s great to keep in contact. The History Society has also managed to run online drinking events as well as themed quizzes/movie nights.

What’s your favourite thing about the campus?

It is so scenic and beautiful. Canterbury as a city is lovely so I would definitely recommend living there!

What’s your favourite thing about living in Canterbury?

Canterbury has a great selection of places to eat as well as places to just walk or sit with friends. I have also been to the Medway Campus and they are both in nice quiet places which are not far from the fun!

What’s your favourite bar/café/restaurant in town or on campus?

I would definitely have to recommend Eleto Chocolate Cafe in Canterbury! The Hot Chocolate and crepes are amazing so I spent quite a few afternoons there last year.

What would you recommend to a new first year student studying your course that would really help them?

When you are making notes from your assigned reading, keep note of the page number you got that information from in the margin. This seems time consuming but it will be an absolute life saver when it comes to writing essays. So many people don’t do this and then have to desperately search the reading for the quote/idea they noted down. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. The seminar leaders are all lovely from my experience and they are always happy to answer any questions you email over to them.

What would you recommend a first year student moving to Kent try out?

Everything! Do as much as you can, it can be quite lonely and isolating if you stay in your room all the time so try studying in a variety of places or in groups. Also try to set yourself things to do such as exploring new areas of town or trying a new place to eat as all these things will make your experience so much more enjoyable.

Are there any books / podcasts / film / online magazines that would be helpful for a new student, or fellow students, studying your course?

It would honestly depend what modules they are interested in. However, I could recommend as a start the History Podcast run by members of staff as this allows you to get some insight into the sorts of topics covered by lectures here at Kent.