The average week of a Comparative Literature student at Kent

Juhi Moghul, a third year Comparative Literature student at Kent, takes us through an average week and shares advice for people about to start their studies.

Tell us a bit about your weekly life on campus including; lectures, seminars, study time, work or 1:1 with staff.

Typically, my studies start at 11am with a 2-hour LecSem, three to four times a week. A LecSem is a combination of a lecture and seminar where the professor would present a lecture for the first 45minutes and the remaining time is spent on class discussion.

After class I tend to pop down to the library café or one of the food outlets on campus for a quick breather with friends- always good to have a chat with classmates and give the mind a rest before jumping back into studies. I would then find a space in the library or one of the on-campus study hubs for a couple of hours.

As part of my ILP (Individual Learning Plan), I have for a one-hour Study Skills meeting per week prescribed to aid my studies. This is usually a Thursday. I have learning disabilities including dyslexia, so I work with a tutor who helps me to run through relevant vocabulary and sentence structures so that I am better prepared when completing assignments.

I tend to visit my various lecturers in their office or via teams (depending on whichever is most convenient for both of us at the time) each week during their office hours, which are in the morning of early afternoon. This is very important for me because I can talk about potential essay topic ideas ahead of time. I can iron out any worries I may have about a text I was unsure about or needed clarification on. The lecturers and I very strongly recommend anyone who is struggling with a seminar topic or module to take this time to reach out! Alongside this, I have an academic adviser on my course that I check in with once a month. They are there to ensure the term is running smoothly and just have a chat about how the students find the modules so far.

My afternoons then consist of me walking back to my accommodation, putting in time to read (whether it is a novel for a seminar or one of my own choosing), exercise or catch-up on emails. And eat! My evenings are often spent in rehearsals or hanging out with friends for dinner. This does vary depending on the term and deadline seasons, nonetheless each day I make sure to carve out time to spend on leisure and on my studies.

How many contact hours are on your course? Is this easy to manage and balance with your social and work life?

My course requires 8 hours contact time per week, but the maximum is 10 hours a week. Beyond these scheduled seminars, I have the freedom to structure my time as I wish! This is brilliant because it means I may plan my days to fit my energy levels and get ahead on seminar preparation or take a few days to myself if I need it. It is quite easy to manage my social life and studies because my seminars start at the same time each day, and this provides a fixed morning routine where I must be out of my flat by a certain time. As I mentioned, towards assignment season my schedules can change, so instead I meet up with friends for a study session to make sure we get to see each other as well as have valuable work done.

How many different modules do you cover over the week? How did you choose your modules? Did you choose any wild modules?

I cover 4 modules per week, and per year it is between 7 and 8 modules.The number of modules per year can differ depending on which stage you are (1st year, 2nd or 3rd) and by the credits available. You are given a document that details each module available and as part of Comparative Literature, we only have one compulsory module per year, and can choose from the optional CompLit modules from that, and browse for Wild Modules. This is so useful because you can begin to cater your degree to your subject specific interests.For instance, I am not very well-versed in my Shakespeare so instead of the Shakespeare’s Afterlives module I took the Don Juan and Casanova in Literature and Film module this year.

I have taken elective modules each year now, my 1st year I took a Sociology Module and Classical Literature one, my 2nd year I took another Classics module, and my 3rd year I took a Stylistics and Creative Writing module in the English Language and Linguistics department. This flexibility helps to expand your knowledge and academic skills because different departments may require different essay techniques or assessment patterns. So not only are you expanding your literary knowledge, in my case, but am able to work with different departments.

Does your course have any special facilities that you can use? ?

We do have computer rooms in the Cornwallis Building which is my main department building. We can access them whenever and are very helpful for when you need to pop in and do some printing or quick research in a quiet study space. And, of course, the library is open 24/7, so if you study best at night you can show up at 9pm and get to work.

How much do you travel to get onto campus?

I live on campus in Darwin College. I did so in my first year too and decided to come back because of how convenient the travel is around campus. All of my classes are a maximum 10minute walk away, and the closest access to the on-campus co-op (and coffee shop!) is the same distance. To travel into town, we have a range of bus routes to take, or you can take a 40minute walk to town centre.

What is the social scene like in Canterbury on and off campus?

Every time I go into town I pop into the Waterstones for a not-so-quick browse. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t eaten at Wagamama’s at least once a term. It is my favourite restaurant and it is a must-go. Next to this is a restaurant called Citi Terrace which is brilliant for a light lunch or big dinner with friends. Whilst you’re in Canterbury, it is always worth going and visiting the Cathedral. It’s only a 10minute bus ride from campus or you can take a scenic walk down there that takes around 40minutes. Also, when I first came to Kent on an Open Day, I stayed in a Bed and Breakfast next to the Cathedral (and there are many of them spotted around the city). So, this is perfect if you have parents, family or friends visiting for a weekend! Otherwise, my advice is just stick on some music and have a lovely walk around the greenery in Canterbury.

Have you been on any trips within Kent & London since studying with us, whether that be personal or as a field trip? If so, what was it like to travel there?

Last summer I went up to the beach in Whitstable. It was a gorgeous day out and couldn’t miss the opportunity. It was only a 20-minute bus journey with one of our university buses that goes straight to Whitstable from campus. It was an easy journey and perfect for anyone who wishes to take a weekend away. Next places I have been recommended to visit are Ramsgate via train and Herne Bay via bus.

Are you involved with any Student Societies?

Yes, I am part of KentDance! And have been since my first year. Dancing is such a huge love of mine that the first society I looked for in Fresher’s week had to be dance related! They cover styles such as Ballet, Tap, Hip-hop (my favourite) and more. The society has been a great opportunity for me to get back on stage and in a studio rehearsing some of my favourite styles. You get to meet people with all levels of dance and talents. The society is a brilliantly run, with a friendly community, plenty of social and game-night events, performances and dance competitions during term times! Having weekly classes is a wonderful break from my studies because it reminds me to snatch my mind away from studies and solely focus on physical movement. This year I have also joined the UKCSalsa Society. I had never danced with a partner before, so this was a very new experience for me. The committee are very understanding that this is a new style for many people and like other sports societies in Kent, they cater for people of all levels.

The CompLit society is run by my fellow classmates, and they organise events for people on our course as well as anyone interested in talking about literature. If you’d like to see what these and many more societies get up to, I suggest visiting their Instagram or Facebook pages as they are every active there. Or go to KentUnion and find societies’ social media through their subject pages

What would be your main advice to prospective students looking to join the community here at Kent?

Take your time! Settling into university can be daunting but it’s important take things at your own pace. This is your future you are building, after all.

Talk to people! We are here to let you know anything and everything we can about Kent to give you the full spec of what it is like to be at university here. Talk to staff if you are concerned about any part of the course or assessments. Talk to us ambassadors who will gladly tell you more about student life. We understand what it’s like to be in your shoes and will assist in showing you what Kent life is like.

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