Jessica Noakes takes us through an average week, and offers some advice for people about to begin their studies.
“Throw yourself into societies, and don’t be worried or anxious to introduce yourself to new people! You’re all in the same boat, so just enjoy every second and make the most of being a Kent student; three years goes by in a flash!”
Tell us a bit about your weekly life on campus
Each week, I have four lectures and four seminars, which is of one each per module. Even though there is an even amount of lectures and seminars, these are spread throughout the week, meaning on some days I will have no lectures or seminars, however on other days I have up to three classes. This year, I am taking a guided research module, therefore I have 1:1 meetings with my supervisor to discuss my research and consider different approaches to attaining and compiling my evidence and findings. Although these meetings are set up by the lecturer or research assistant, lecturers in general are always welcoming and approachable. Their email responses to any questions you may have or their openness to set up last minute meetings to discuss anything surrounding their module content is what makes this university unique. Study time is easy to fit into scheduled classes, and the picturesque on-campus library makes this very enjoyable.
How many contact hours are on your course? Is this easy to manage and balance with your social and work life?
Per week, there is 8 contact hours on this course, comprised of lectures and seminars. The biggest difference I found between college/ school and university is the dramatically reduced amount of contact hours a degree has. Independent learning and studying is equally as important as in-person teaching, therefore the time spent in between lectures and seminars is mostly on independent study. That said, the balance between work and social life is easy and manageable!I try to work only on campus, so I travel to campus for either a whole or half day, and spend most of this studying. When the workload is slightly lighter (typically at the start of term), I will also spend a lot of time on campus either socialising with friends, or partaking in sporting activities.
How many different modules do you cover over the week?
The year is split into 2 terms; autumn and spring. For each term, there are 4 modules, comprised of either subject specific modules, or wild modules. I found these elective modules helpful in extending my knowledge in different subject areas. A great piece of advice I received from my supervisor was to choose elective modules which are somewhat related to your degree (in my case English Language and Linguistics). In my first year I elected a psychology module, which has sparked my interest in the topic of psycholinguistics. In my second year, I chose a sociology module, which again I was able to draw comparisons to linguistics, for example how language is used to convey relationships in society. The most important thing to think when deciding which modules to take is choosing what you enjoy most and are genuinely interested in- this will naturally lead to success in that module.
How much do you travel to get onto campus?
My daily commute is easy and quick, as the bus route connects the centre of town all the way up to the University campus. The bus pass is worth getting if you live away from campus, however walking up the hill is also a quick and cheaper option.
What was University accommodation like?
In my first year of living in Canterbury, my on-campus accommodation was Turing college. Although this is one of the more expensive places to live on campus, the high quality of the bedrooms and kitchen and the option to have an en suite makes it well worth it. The short walk to campus and the beautiful surroundings of this college is one of the reasons that I chose the University of Kent… alongside the gorgeous views out of the library over Canterbury city of course! Although my friends I made through my course and societies were spread all over the campus in different accommodations, the walk across campus is never a long one. The 24/7 campus security makes the university a safe and comfortable place for young people.
What is the social scene like in Canterbury on and off campus?
Canterbury at night is bursting with fun places to go for drinks with friends in town, or for the more adventurous places to stay out dancing until 4am! The on-campus nightclub The Venue is a favourite of most Kent students, and more specifically the famous Vensday (Venue on Wednesday). Club Chemistry in town is also a great place to enjoy a few drinks with a good mix of different music (3 floors worth!). The Cherry Tree and the Drapers Arms are both excellent pubs to enjoy with friends. My new favourite coffee shop is Stag Coffee at the top of town; if you want the best brunch menu in the city, this is the place to go!
Are you involved with any societies?
I wanted to be part of a sports society ever since I enrolled at the University of Kent, just because of how much fun previous students sounded like they had! I joined the beginners tennis team at the start of the year (with absolutely no hand-eye coordination or fitness), and since then not only have I somehow improved my skills, but I’ve also made some of my best friends! Throwing yourself into a society is one of the best ways to get involved with the uni on another level to just the academic side. Even if you’re not sure you will like it, most societies offer a “free trial” period, so even if it’s not your cup of tea, at least you tried something new!
What would be your main advice to prospective students looking to join the community here at Kent?
My main advice to new undergrads at Kent would be to throw yourself into societies, and don’t be worried or anxious to introduce yourself to new people! You’re all in the same boat, so just enjoy every second and make the most of being a Kent student; three years goes by in a flash!