Many students have passed through Kent but what are they up to now? In the After Kent series, we talk to Ceri Johnson about her journey After Kent. Ceri studied BA Politics and International Relations from 2017-2020.
What do you miss the most about studying Politics at Kent?
The thing I miss most about studying Politics was the way you were able to immerse yourself in a new country or topic so frequently. My modules had a great mix of countries involved and there was so much to discover within the curriculum and beyond. There was so much to learn from my peers too about their experiences and perspectives, it was enriching in so many ways.
What are you up to now?
I’m currently working at the Office for National Statistics supporting researchers in gaining access to the wealth of data that ONS has. I get to hear from researchers all over the country and a range of institutions about their research experience, and what their plans are. It’s so interesting to see the range of research that’s constantly ongoing in the UK, notably working near the COVID research team has shown me just how much work goes into these projects and of course how valuable they are. I was always passionate about academic research and it’s really exciting to be part of the research community in a way I didn’t expect.
How has studying Politics at Kent prepared you for the future/your current position?
In a role that works closely with researchers and their projects, I need to understand the process that a researcher undergoes to produce their final results on their side. With my degree having a large focus on research modules, I can talk to researchers confidently about their projects and what stages they are at so that we can support them through the process of how research works within ONS.
I also think in a personal sense, the staff at Kent always encouraged me to produce work I was proud of. They helped me to see my full potential so that I could work with conviction in my own choices. The support there was brilliant and shaped me into the person I am now.
What advice would you give potential/current Politics students?
The best advice you can give someone in politics is to just explore! Make your experience of politics a broad horizon where you can look at things from different perspectives and explore concepts that seem to out of reach. I went to university with such a limited understanding of history and politics, and when I chose modules that I didn’t have much background knowledge on it was a rewarding experience to learn and broaden my worldview. It also gives you the confidence to know you can dive into new things and tackle them head-on, which is great practice for going into a new job that you might not know anything about.
What do you plan to do in the future?
I’m currently working towards progression into a Policy role. I enjoy being a supportive role to my team and there are so many skills that are transferable to the next role without them being directly linked. For example, getting involved with stakeholders and the relationships between ONS and other government departments. In any role, it’s important to build strong working relationships but particularly in policy when communication is so key. I’m hoping that in a policy role I can do some more writing and research in a way that helps others, either by informing or influencing others.
If you are a POLIR alumni and studied either an undergraduate, postgraduate or PhD degree with us and would like to share your story, contact us, we would love to hear from you!