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calendar with yellow marker pen

Managing your studies

Good time management and organisation are key to staying on top of your studies. You will need to plan your time and your assignments, maintain a good filing system for all your study materials, and ensure that you keep pace with your course.

Plan your time

Use a time planner

Use a time planner to take control of your time. This will involve organising your studies (lectures, seminars, reading and assignments) along with all other activities and commitments in your life (work, family etc) throughout the year. Try colour coding different activities on your planner to help keep track of them.

Plan each assignment

Start each assignment as early as possible. Working backwards from the deadline, consider the stages of work needed to complete each one and estimate how long you have to dedicate to each, then plot them on your time planner. Complete each stage of work on time to avoid last minute panics and to meet your deadlines. For a sample of stages in one type of assignment, see managing your essay.

Set achievable goals and prioritise tasks

Divide individual days into bitesize chunks of time and allocate an achievable task to each session e.g. 9-11am – Read/make notes on Journal article x; 11-12am – Draw up essay plan for assignment y; 12-1pm – Proof-read report z… etc. This will keep you focussed and productive, and ensure constant progress.

Consider which tasks are both important and urgent – e.g. Proof-read and submit assignment x – and prioritise these on your daily schedule.

Set up a filing system

Group, organise and store information and work in a logical order

  • Think about where and how you will group, organise and store course information, handouts, research and your notes so you can find them easily e.g. ‘Module X: Topic A/B/C/D’ or ‘Assignment Y: Research/Notes/Drafts’.
  • Number assignment drafts (essays, project reports etc) to keep track of the most recent version.
  • Use ring binders with labelled dividers, computer folders/files or a mixture both to stay organised and save time.

Back-up work regularly on your computer to avoid any risk of losing it

 

Keep on top of your work

Be pro-active

If you find yourself falling behind with your studies don’t ignore it, reflect on the reasons, consider solutions and take action – action can even be seeking advice if you are struggling or not sure of what you are doing

Seek help in plenty of time if you need it

Ask your lecturer or seek advice from relevant university services which may include:

Resources

For more information on all topics mentioned above and more visit the Student Learning Advisory Service – University of Kent (SLAS) we also offer appointments and workshops.

Advice for living with new people and settling into uni life

Six student tips for settling in to campus life.

We asked our students’ about their favourite thing living in campus accommodation. The top result? How close they were to everything on campus, and the friends they made here. However, living with new people and making friends can also be some of the things people are most nervous about. You’re not alone if this is you, we asked some of our residential students to share their experiences so here are our 6 top tips to help you settle into living on campus.

Student quote: “Just be kind, be friendly and be respectful. These will be the people that you live with for the year and if you’re able to make friends with even just a few of them at the very beginning, it makes the start so much easier as you know that you’ve got someone to talk to and spend time with as you find your feet, branch out and make new friends.” Isobel, Drama and Theatre student.
“Just be kind, be friendly and be respectful. These will be the people that you live with for the year and if you’re able to make friends with even just a few of them at the very beginning, it makes the start so much easier as you know that you’ve got someone to talk to and spend time with as you find your feet, branch out and make new friends.” Isobel, Drama and Theatre student.

Talk – as cliché as it sounds, when you are in your room keep the door open as you start getting to know your flatmates and make the effort to say hi or grab a cup of tea for a chat. Plus, having some snacks or a game in the kitchen to share on those first few days with your new flatmates can be a great icebreaker. This advice goes beyond your house and beyond welcome week too – everyone is in the same boat as you. Aleeja, a psychology student says it best “be open to making friends and try to make conversation with people you come across as you never know whether they’re a lifelong friend till you try”.

 

Student quote: “Don’t be afraid of not being able to make friends, it is so easy to meet people by joining societies and sports clubs. Also make sure that you can find your work-life balance, otherwise you could fall behind easily. Don’t forget you’re coming here to study hard but enjoy new experiences” Yasemin, Law student
“Don’t be afraid of not being able to make friends, it is so easy to meet people by joining societies and sports clubs. Also make sure that you can find your work-life balance, otherwise you could fall behind easily. Don’t forget you’re coming here to study hard but enjoy new experiences.” Yasemin, Law student.


Explore
 – make the most out of the opportunities on campus – join a society, grab coffee with people on your course, meet your neighbours or try volunteering. Don’t just rely on your flatmates or course mates for finding new friends keep exploring and “make an effort to meet people in the first week, and every week after that. The more people you know, the more likely you are to make some friends” (Morgan, International Business student).

 

Student quote: ‘Have patience. Create a group chat with your flatmates because communication is key!’ Liliya, Law student
“Have patience. Create a group chat with your flatmates because communication is key!” Liliya, Law student.


Have that cleaning conversation early
 – you and your flatmates are responsible for cleaning your accommodation. So, once you know each other have a house meeting to sort out some general house rules and utilise the cleaning rota in your kitchen if needed. It may be awkward to start with but everyone will be happier in the long run if they know what’s expected of them. If it helps, make the house meeting a regular event, over time this may just turn into an opportunity to touch base and check in with each other.

 

Student quote: ‘Don't hesitate to talk to your flatmates, and eventually establish some rules you will all be okay with! It will help you a lot and relieve some stress.’ Cassiopee, Digital Arts student.
“Don’t hesitate to talk to your flatmates, and eventually establish some rules you will all be okay with! It will help you a lot and relieve some stress.” Cassiopee, Digital Arts student.


Be considerate
 – this one seems obvious, but can easily be forgotten when you’re all having fun. Your flatmate may have an exam in the morning, or maybe you shouldn’t take up all of the kitchen space with unwashed bowls – just remember when you are all sharing the same space a little consideration and compromise goes a long way.

 

Student quote: 'Houseplants are great for your bedroom as they brighten up the place as well as having a positive effect on your mood’ Daisy, Anthropology student
“Houseplants are great for your bedroom as they brighten up the place as well as having a positive effect on your mood.” Daisy, Anthropology student.


Decorate
 – put up pictures, of home and the new memories you make. This room is yours for the year so put up all the things that will make it feel homely for you (within reason – we do have some restricted items as outlined in the Accommodation Handbook).

 

Student quote: ‘Studying is important in life, but so is self-care. If everything gets to be too much just step back for a bit and focus again, because no matter what happens you have to be your own top priority’ Yasemin, Law student
“Studying is important in life, but so is self-care. If everything gets to be too much just step back for a bit and focus again, because no matter what happens you have to be your own top priority.” Yasemin, Law student.


Feeling overwhelmed? Speak up – 
that’s natural – for most of you it will be your first move away from home and lots of you will be feeling the same way. But don’t forget you can always speak to someone – a house mate, friend, member of staff or there’s always the exceptional Student Support and Wellbeing team on campus who have been through it all before and are there for you.

 

Wondering whether to take the leap and live on campus? We’ll leave the closing words to ELL/Psychology student, Ruby:

“Definitely do it because you get to meet loads of new people and live near them, also you live so near that you can easily go to events and other stuff so do as much as you can whilst it’s easy to get to” Ruby, ELL/Psychology student
“Definitely do it because you get to meet loads of new people and live near them, also you live so near that you can easily go to events and other stuff so do as much as you can whilst it’s easy to get to.”

 

Already here? Take some time to settle in as everything is new, but don’t worry we’re here to support you if needed. There’s lots of information on our Arrivals pages or Living on Campus or Living in Pier Quays pages to help you settle in to university life, and otherwise we echo Economics student Gbogo’s advice “enjoy and have fun, it’s easy to find friends and everything you need is on campus.” 

woman pulling leg to stretch before running

Staying active at uni

Join Kent Sport 

Kent Sport operates all the sport and fitness facilities across the Canterbury campus. All students, staff, and members of the public are welcome to become members, with a wide range of benefits including access to:

  • Air-conditioned, fully-equipped gym with cardio, weights and strength training equipment
  • Large fitness and dance studio with up to 40 group exercise classes per week
  • 3 multi-purpose sports halls for almost any indoor sport
    • Including a new NBA standard basketball court in hall 2
  • 3 full-size, floodlit artificial pitches for football, rugby, lacrosse, hockey and more
  • 4 full-size indoor acrylic tennis courts within the Indoor Tennis and Events Arena
  • Dedicated boxing and martial arts areas
  • Social sport and activity programmes including ALL Active and Give It A Go (students and staff only) 
  • Access to the Kent Sports Clinic performance, physiotherapy, and rehabilitation services (discounted rates for members)

All first-year students and students living in accommodation booked through the University are given free Kent Sport Premium Plus membership, giving them access to all the facilities and services. 

You can join Kent Sport with a free Pay to Play membership, simply by creating a new online booking account.

Join a student sports club

Kent Union run more than 60 different sports clubs on campus, with sports ranging from American Football to Ultimate Frisbee, and each club is open to any student regardless of experience. The sports are represented at a range of levels, from recreational to competitive, so there is something for everyone! 

View the full list of sports clubs

Sports Scholarship Scheme 

The University of Kent offers athletes the opportunity to join the Sports Scholarship Scheme, which provides sport-specific training, advice, guidance, and funding to continue competing while studying. The Sports Scholarship Scheme is delivered by Kent Sport.

Get outdoors

There are lots of green spaces in Kent, so why not take advantage of them? Going for a jog or a walk outside is great for clearing your head after a long day of studying. 

If you want to start running, parkrun is a weekly free timed 5km run, jog or walk every Saturday in parks and open spaces. The Canterbury parkrun starts at the Sports Pavilion on Parkwood Road, and the Medway parkrun takes place at Great Lines Heritage Park (Gillingham). 

If you’re looking to take in more scenery, then check out Kent Sport’s Active Campus Routes webpage for some popular walking, jogging, and cycling routes across campus and further afield.

Exercise with a friend

It can be daunting to exercise alone in a gym, or to join a sports club by yourself. Exercising with a friend will mean you’re less likely to get bored, and you can motivate each other by planning new and exciting workouts! On those days when you don’t feel like working out, having someone to keep you accountable will mean you’re more likely to stick to your exercise goals.

Cycle or walk to uni

Instead of taking the bus or driving, take advantage of the many cycle paths and footpaths around our campuses. Walking or cycling as part of your commute is a great way of including activity within your daily life – and it’s good for the environment! 

Find out more about walking and cycling at Kent

three students sitting on the grass and chatting

Staying well at uni

Studying at university is a big change for most people, but you can help ease the transition by remembering to take care of your mental and physical health. 

  • Build a support network

We all need supportive friends and family to talk to to share the difficult moments as well as the good times. It’s a good idea to invest some time in maintaining your existing networks by making video calls or real-life dates, as well as making an effort to meet new people at university, whether you are a commuting student or living away from home.

There are specialist peer support groups and one-to-one appointments available to help provide you with a sense of community at Kent, whatever your circumstances. Information can be found via the dedicated pages on support services and networks for care leavers, mature, commuting and part-time students, international students, and autistic students.

See what’s on via the Welcome events calendar, check out events hosted by your academic division, or take a look at the Student Support and Wellbeing events calendar for weekly peer groups and workshops.

  • Coping with change

Transitions are hard – although it can be exciting to move to a new area or start a new course, it can be unsettling to find yourself building up routines and networks from scratch.

Remember that it can take time to adjust to your new situation and feelings of homesickness or loneliness will likely ease. If you can share how you’re doing with others around you, you’re likely to find many people are experiencing similar feelings, and together you can create a community to look out for one another. You will be studying alongside a diverse community with many different interests and backgrounds, so it can be a great opportunity to explore new hobbies and find your tribe.

Why not join a society at Canterbury or Medway or check out the College and Community Life information on how you might throw yourself into the groups where you’re living and studying?

  • Don’t forget your physical health

Whether you are looking to get fitter, or just want to get moving, Kent Sport has lots of classes on campus as well as guidance from exercising from wherever you are.

The Canterbury campus has a lot of green spaces and woodland trails to explore on foot or by bike, and if you want to find a new friend to walk with, you could sign up to ‘Walking Buddies’ via the Student Support and Wellbeing Events Calendar.

It’s a good idea to register with a GP (general practitioner, or medical doctor) in your area, so you can access physical health care and advice when you need to. 

  • Feeling stressed?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, here are some things you might explore to help regain balance:

  1. Talk it through – we have a team of expert mental health professionals available free of charge throughout your time at Kent
  2. There is an active Mindfulness Society at Kent – check out their resources or try one of their weekly meetings
  3. Need some help with academic work? The Student Learning Advisory Service, or SLAS, organise lots of workshops to upskill you in many areas of academic work such as referencing, taking effective notes, and organisation and time management.

Student Support & Wellbeing provide free expert support to help all students make the most of their time at Kent. Follow @UniKentSSW on social media for the latest information and resources to help you stay well and connected.

 

Drill Hall library

Support at Medway

This blog outlines the support on offer and how to get in contact.

First points of contact

The friendly Colleges and Community Life Team can help you connect with other students in your College community through activities and initiatives, working with your College Committee and Residential Life Assistants. They can offer advice and refer you to other specialist services, whether you are living on- or off-campus or studying remotely.

You can also get in touch with your School if you have a query. Your School should be able to help you or point you in the right direction for further support.

Support with your studies

Our Student Learning and Advisory Service (SLAS) can help you with everything from perfecting your essay writing to learning how to reference properly.

Don’t forget your School is also there to help you with your studies and offer a range of study support.

Might you benefit from contact with Student Support and Wellbeing?

If you have a disability, chronic condition, mental health condition, specific learning difficulty or autism, please contact Student Support and Wellbeing to see how they can help you make the most of your university journey.

We have a team of expert staff who can help you face the challenges of studying, socialising and living independently, whatever else you might be going through, whether it’s something you’re experiencing for the first time at University or have dealt with for a while.

There is also a free confidential counselling service which offers you a safe space to address issues concerning you and can help get thoughts, feelings, behaviour and perspective on life back in balance again.

Students’ Union

From money worries to housing issues, academic problems to visa support, your students’ union’s Student Advice Service is available to help through their free, impartial and confidential advice service.

Health services

It’s a good idea to register with a local doctor near to your accommodation in order to receive treatment under the National Health Service (NHS): Find your nearest NHS Surgery. Medway students can call Canterbury Nursing Services on 01227 823503 for telephone advice for minor illnesses/injuries and contraception. Check out this Visual Guide: Finding Health Support and Emergency Services at Medway

students sitting at table

Support at Canterbury

This blog outlines the support on offer and how to get in contact.

First points of contact

The friendly Colleges and Community Life Team can help you connect with other students in your College community through activities and initiatives, working with your College Committee and Residential Life Assistants. They can offer advice and refer you to other specialist services, whether you are living on- or off-campus or studying remotely.

You can also get in touch with your School if you have a query. Your School should be able to help you or point you in the right direction for further support.

Support with your studies

Our Student Learning and Advisory Service (SLAS) can help you with everything from perfecting your essay writing to learning how to reference properly.

Don’t forget your School is also there to help you with your studies and offer a range of study support.

Might you benefit from contact with Student Support and Wellbeing?

If you have a disability, chronic condition, mental health condition, specific learning difficulty or autism, please contact Student Support and Wellbeing to see how they can help you make the most of your university journey.

We have a team of expert staff who can help you face the challenges of studying, socialising and living independently, whatever else you might be going through, whether it’s something you’re experiencing for the first time at university or something you have dealt with for a while.

There is also a free confidential counselling service which offers you a safe space to address issues concerning you and can help get thoughts, feelings, behaviour and perspective on life back in balance again.

Kent Union

Kent Union are your Students’ Union at Canterbury. From money worries to housing issues, academic problems to visa support, Kent Union’s Student Advice Service is available to help through their free, impartial and confidential advice service.

You can also get in touch with your Kent Union full-time officers who are each responsible for specific areas within the Union.

Health services

Kent has its own NHS general practice on campus called the University Medical Centre, with an independent pharmacy next to it. Our University Nursing Service provide advice for minor illnesses/injuries and contraception, and is staffed 24 hours a day during term time by registered nurses. Check out this Visual Guide: Finding Health Support and Emergency Services at University

Jar of coins

How to save money on your food shop

The cost of living is increasing, which can make all of our food shops a lot more expensive! To try to cut down on expenses when buying your weekly shop, we’ve compiled a list of student tips.

(1) Plan your weekly budget

The best place to start is having a weekly budget to work out how much you can realistically afford to spend each week on food. Start by working out your income – whether you have a part-time job or you’re getting money from your parents, every income you have should be accounted for. You’ll then need to make a note of your regular expenses and subtract this from your income. This should then leave you with the amount you have available for food, activities, shopping, and anything else you need to buy over the week. Make sure you set aside a fair amount for food and necessities, and use this weekly budget to inform your spending decisions and plan your food shopping accordingly.

(2) If you can, buy in bulk

Buying in bulk works out cheaper in the long run. For items with a long shelf life that you know you’ll use – like pasta, rice, and washing up liquid – it’s cheaper and easier to buy larger quantities than to keep getting small packets. For example, currently, 1kg of Tesco Penne Pasta costs £1.40, whereas 300g costs £1. Although the 300g packet is cheaper, it works out as £3.34 per kg of pasta when buying 300g packs – which is clearly more expensive than just buying the 1kg bag and using it throughout the term. Therefore, if you can afford it, it’s better to bulk buy at the start of term than to keep buying smaller amounts of items each week.

(3) Do your food shop in the evenings

Most supermarkets start reducing the price of food after about 18.00 so that they can get rid of stock before the end of the day, and make things cheaper that they will no longer be able to sell as ‘fresh’ the next morning. This is great for getting a cheaper food shop – the food will still be fine to eat, just less expensive!

(4) Make a list

Making a list of what you NEED will help to keep you on track with your shopping, and will ensure you don’t waste money on unnecessary items that will just end up going in the bin (which is also far more environmentally friendly as it limits food waste!) Make sure you check your cupboards before you head to the shop so you don’t buy duplicate items that you won’t need, and jot down any ingredients you’re missing.

(5) Keep an eye out for student discounts and cheap deals

There are lots of money-saving discounts online and in stores. As students, you should be able to access student discounts for a range of shops and restaurants, so make sure you always ask if this is available when shopping. For discounts on the Canterbury campus, grab yourself a Totum discount card or a Co-Op membership to access rewards and offers in our two Co-Op stores. It’s also a good idea to do your food shops at cheaper supermarkets (like Aldi and Lidl) if possible, as this will save you a lot of money in the long-run.

 

We hope that these tips offer you some help for saving money on food. The rising cost of living is difficult for many of our students, and we understand that some extra help may be needed at this time.

If you’re still struggling, please reach out to our Student Support and Wellbeing team for help. You can also access Kent Union’s Foodbank at Mandela Student Centre Monday-Friday, 9.00-17.00, and can speak to their Advice Centre about any extra support or advice you might need.

For more information on budgeting, check out our Budgeting Guide.

Packing clothes

What to pack?

‘Don’t over pack!’ is one of the most common responses whenever we ask students for the advice they would give for those about to arrive on campus for the first time. It can be tricky to know what you might need and what you should bring with you, so this is definitely a decision that shouldn’t be based on ‘what more can I cram into the car/suitcase?

So with this in mind, listen to the voice of experience as these students and staff share their top tips so you can save yourself the pain of trying to squeeze in a second food dehydrator…

Aleena, psychology student and Liane, English Language and Linguistics student – ‘make a packing list’
Aleena: ‘making a list would be useful as I found I missed out a lot of essentials and had to spend money buying things I already had at home.’ Fortunately we have a packing list to help get you started but another piece of advice is to ‘pack boxes so items related are put together (e.g. kitchen, bedding, bathroom etc.)’ says Liane ‘this makes unpacking quicker and easier’.

‘Double check that you have everything you need (especially kitchen utensils and hygiene products) so you don't have to scramble to get what you need last minute.’ - Liane, English Language and Linguistics student

Laura, from our Accommodation Team – ‘check what’s already in your room’
All rooms on campus will have some items included, so know what’s already included to avoid wasting valuable space by packing a duplicate. You can check what is in your Canterbury room or Medway bedroom We’re not just talking about big things either, for example we’ve provided cleaning products in the accommodation kitchens and cleaning cloths in your bedroom, but when you pop to the shops you’ll still need to pick-up a few other bits and bobs like washing up liquid, sponges, and laundry detergent.

Omar, Architecture student – ‘don’t forget the essentials but prioritise things you can’t easily buy’
Bring your chargers and double check on things that you need to use every day, such as soap, as it’s easy to forget. But don’t worry too much about these as you can literally get them from anywhere, just mainly bring the things that aren’t easily bought or replaced if you need them.

line art of bed sizes
You can find out what size bed is in your room online.

 

Becky, from our Housekeeping Team – ‘know your bed sizes’
Aside from forgotten passports or driver’s licences this is one of the most common mishaps for new students. There are different bed sizes across the rooms on campus (and in private accommodation) so don’t buy any bedding until you have accepted your room offer so you can double check the bed size online so you know what sheets to buy. Some folks have trouble getting hold of sheets for the 7ft beds, but a king size flat sheet will fit.

Phil, from our Catering Team – ‘don’t pack the kitchen sink’
Just bring enough to get you started as you may want to go in with your flatmates for to buy some items. If you live in part-catered accommodation you shouldn’t need anything beyond your basic crockery and cutlery, as kettles are provided. If you’re going to live in self-catered accommodation we suggest just buying a set of crockery and cutlery for yourself, plus food storage containers and basic pots and pans.

luggage and suitcases in car for departure
Another cheat to avoid overfilling the car is to utilise UniKitOut. This company delivers essential items direct to your room on campus so it’s there ready for you when you arrive. Just order before midnight on Tuesday 7 September 2021. There’s even a 10% discount when using the ‘KENT10’ code

 

Beth, History and Social Anthropology student – ‘make it home’
Best bit of advice was to bring decorative items. Strings of lights, small potted plants for the windowsill or desk, photo frames with silly, happy photos, blankets and pillows, etc. It makes the room that bit more comforting and homely, and can help with the homesickness.

Alexander, Anthropology student – ‘bring something to break the ice’
‘Bring sweets, give them to your flatmates when you introduce yourself’. If sweets aren’t your thing, and you’re feeling nervous about introducing yourself just remember your fellow students Eve and Becky’s advice ‘don’t stress, everyone’s in the same boat and wants to make new friends too […] put yourself out there and make friends. Particularly at this time, campus is a great place to be for that’.

students laughing playing cards at table

Of course, there are also some things you should 100% not be bringing. You can probably guess these but anything with a naked flame, (such as candles, incense, joss sticks, oil burners, barbeques, or smoking paraphernalia) is one to avoid. Cars, mini-fridges, adhesive strip lights, heated airers, multi-way cube adaptors and pets are some of the other items featured on the restricted items list which can be found in the Accommodation Handbook if you need to double check anything.

Our Canterbury Arrivals and Medway Arrivals pages are full of useful info to help get you ready to arrive at Kent including more info on what to bring (Canterbury and Medway editions). Plus we’ve got more advice from previous students coming your way, including tips for settling in, so keep an eye on the Accommodation Twitter and Facebook pages for all the latest blogs and useful information before you arrive.

We look forward to welcoming you to Kent soon!