I remember it as if it was yesterday – I was carrying my one and only suitcase, walking up the hill from the city centre to the University of Kent’s Canterbury campus, in the rain. I knew there were direct buses from the city to the campus, but I was so excited about all my life changes (living abroad, speaking another language 24/7, being away from my family and friends) that I wanted to walk and feel every inch of the path so I could have positive memories to recall later!
One year has passed since then, and now many of you are probably in the same situation I was last September; arriving at the University of Kent to pursue your postgraduate studies and feeling really excited about it! The first thing I have to say to you is WELCOME! The second is that you’ve chosen the best place to study, grow and develop, and I am sure you will have a fantastic time here at Kent.
If you are beginning a new year of your PhD course, don’t forget to check out the Graduate School’s Researcher Development Programme. It has workshops to help you improve your academic skills, enable you to go beyond barriers, such as a fear of public speaking or journal publication, as well as learn about alternative funding opportunities. In addition, you get to meet many other PhD students, across various disciplines, with whom you can connect, co-operate and share your journey, all of which are very important for your success.
A new academic year always creates the sense of a fresh new start and for many can be motivation to get back on track. Whether you are just starting at the University, or returning for another year, embrace that feeling! Focus on working towards your academic achievements, while also having fun and enjoying the new connections you are bound to make. Get the most out of your programme and excellent teachers, make the time to meet our lovely academic staff and administrators. It is very important that you become acquainted with all the student services, which are there to help you achieve success! This will make you feel not only supported, but prepared throughout the academic year!
Embrace the opportunity to find out what is happening at your university and around campus. Participate whenever you can, so you can have fun and build new friendships – joining societies is a great way of doing this. Having a good support network, with people to talk to and share your graduate experiences is also crucial to help keep you motivated and on the right path. The Graduate School and the Kent Graduate Student Association organise several social events to welcome you and make you feel at home – they are designed with you in mind!
Pursuing a Master’s or a PhD is not always a piece of cake, you will find that at the University of Kent there are always silver linings which will make your experience as a graduate student better and more successful. After one year, I can say I am very proud to be a PhD research student at the University of Kent and I am sure you will be too! Just give your best every day and we will be here to back you up.