Author Archives: Jessica Thomas

Collage of images representing Pride Month

Why is Pride important to you?

To mark Pride Month, LGBTQ+ staff and student networks at University of Kent posed the question ‘Why is Pride important to you?’ Along with their answers, members submitted pictures that made them think of pride. These pictures have been turned into the eye-catching Pride Collage above.

Why is Pride important to you?

“Pride is important to be because it makes me feel visible, included, and part of something bigger”

“The LGBT+ community is one of the most diverse, all-embracing, inclusive communities on the planet. The + is very important. The ability to self-define and still be accepted is a fundamental part of this community, which is what makes it so very special. And it’s not just about who’s allowed in; it’s about the support once you arrive. We look after each other, support each other, and use discrimination against us as fuel to support other minoritised groups”

“Pride Month is when I feel closest to my community. Wherever I am, knowing that the core nature of this community is to protect its own and speak its truth gives me a sense of balance and belonging”

“Pride comes in many different colours, and the LGBT+ community covers many different communities, some more marginalized than others”

“I am not proud because I am gay – I was born gay; I’m proud because I’m not afraid any more”

“When I think of Pride, the first word that comes to me is ‘freedom’. Freedom of being who I am, how I look like and what I wear, what I believe in, and who I love. Unfortunately too many people around the world still don’t have such freedoms, so having a month to celebrate and reflect on the meaning of Pride is still very important, even in 2021”

“Pride is important to me because for the other 364 days of the year, I find it hard to be proud”

“As an ally, Pride to me is a reminder of my privilege and that the rights of LGBT+ friends, family and colleagues are far from being won. Pride to me is an ongoing effort to make sure I do all I can to recognise and fight against inequality and to call out injustice, standing side by side with the LGBT+ community with respect and friendship”

“Pride to me never used to mean much, apart from a nice day out and lots of rainbows. That was before I was out as a pansexual/queer person. Now, on the other hand, pride is so incredibly important to me. It is important because it is genuinely the ONLY time and place where I can hold my partner’s hand and not feel worried about harassment and stares. It is the ONLY place where I can feel like I am ‘normal’ and a part of the majority, and nobody will judge me. I don’t think anyone can really understand this without experiencing years of ‘coming out’ in every possible social situation. It also makes me so happy to see younger generations at Pride festivals and in Pride month just being visible and being who they are, in a way that was never possible when I was that age. I enjoy being a role model and making sure that generations to come can feel proud to be who they are and know that they are not alone”

“For me, Pride is a time to reflect on the progress we’ve made thanks to the work of queer heroes, and recognise that there’s still so much to do. I don’t always feel comfortable expressing who I am, but Pride allows me to celebrate – even if it is in very small ways!”

“To me, Pride is radical. It is self-acceptance; it is rejecting the voices that define you as ‘less than’. It is a celebration AND a fight… and there are still lots to fight for. We can only be proud if we stand with and for one another.”

For more information about the LGBTQ+ community at Kent visit the LGBTQ+ webpages.

Covid-19 vaccine sticker

Covid-19: Pop-up Centres in Canterbury

From Dr Lucy Foley | Director of Student Services and University Health Protection Lead

Getting vaccinated is an important part of protecting ourselves, our friends, family and community from Covid-19. Current programmes have already shown that it prevents hospitalisation and saves lives.

Those of you over 21 can already book a vaccination using the NHS online booking system and by the end of the week, all over 18 year olds will be eligible.

Two pop-up Covid-19 vaccination clinics are open in Canterbury this weekend and I would like to encourage you to attend if you can, particularly with the summer vacation in mind.

  1. Saturday 19 June, 10.00-17.00
    First and second Pfizer vaccination doses
    Sea Cadet Hub, Vauxhall Road, Canterbury CT1 1ZN – Google map
  2. Sunday 20 June, 08.30-19.00
    First Pfizer vaccination doses only
    Augustine House, Rhodaus Town, Canterbury CT1 2YA – Google map

The walk-in clinics will be offering the Pfizer vaccine, which means it is most appropriate for people aged 39 and under, but adults of any age are welcome to attend. No appointments are necessary at either of the clinics.

There may be queues outside the buildings, so people are asked to wear appropriate clothing and observe social distancing rules. The entrance for the Augustine House is at the rear, accessed by walking up the pathway to the left of the building. It is walk-in only, with no parking available on site.

Those who receive a vaccination at the clinics are advised to visit the online national booking service a few days after their first jab to book their second dose. Appointments for the second vaccination can be made via the national booking service.

There is more information on the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccination in Kent and Medway, and you can find other locations of vaccination sites. More information about the UK Government vaccination programme is also available online.

Even if you are unable to attend these pop-up clinics this weekend, I strongly encourage you to participate in a Covid-19 vaccination programme at your earliest opportunity to do so.

You might also find this NHS vaccination video helpful.

Best wishes,

Lucy

Dr Lucy Foley | Director of Student Services and University Health Protection Lead

A white tea cup with flowers and 2 open books on a table.

How to de-stress and relax after exams

This year has been challenging for many students, with the ongoing pandemic changing the way we engage with our studies and university life as a whole. Therefore, as exam season comes to an end, many of us will be finishing the academic year with a hope to relax and take some time off. To help you, here are some top tips on how to de-stress after exams!

Think positively

Rather than focusing on where you might have gone wrong in a particular exam, focus on the things you did well. You’ve worked hard and completed your exams, so you should know that you did the best that you can. Remind yourself of your strengths, and that you can no longer control the outcome. If you continue to think positively, this should allow you to focus on the joy of having finished exams rather than the future results. In such a difficult year, you should be proud of yourself for getting through the entire exam season!

Tidy up your workspace

De-cluttering your workspace and tidying away your exam/revision resources can really help to clear your mind. By moving revision materials that you no longer need out of view, this can help you let go of exam nerves and start getting excited for summer!

Celebrate!

After a difficult exam season and academic year, you deserve to celebrate! Organise a celebratory meal or movie night with friends or family, and be proud that you got to the end of your exams.

Catch up with friends

Over the exam period, many of us can find it increasingly difficult to stay in contact with friends as we become so caught up in revision and exam stress. Therefore, it’s important to reach out and speak to the people you care about when you can! Check up on your friends and see if you can schedule a time to meet. If you’re worried about results, this can be especially helpful as many of your friends will be in the same boat, so this can help you remember that you’re not alone.

Take some time for yourself

The stress of exams can often mean that students work long hours with very little downtime, but it’s so important to take time off and relax! Once your exams are over, try taking some time to yourself and doing some of the things you’d been longing for during exams. This could be something as simple as binging a new series, or giving yourself an at-home spa day. Whatever you enjoy, it’s important to reward yourself for all the hard work you’ve put in, and to take some time appreciating the simpler things that you might have neglected during exam season.

Spend time outdoors

Spending time outdoors can be great for your mental health, and can really help with post-exam nerves. You can use this time to exercise by going for a walk or run, or you could find a nice outdoor area just to sit and relax. If you’re in the Canterbury area, there are many beautiful outdoor spaces to explore, so take advantage of the scenery Kent offers! Going for a long walk can also help you to feel rejuvenated after spending a lot of time sitting at a desk, and you can use this time to listen to podcasts or music, which might help to take your mind off of exams.

Make plans for results day

If you plan something enjoyable for results day, this might calm your post-exam jitters! Maybe organise a celebration with your household, or a fun activity with some friends. This should help shift your focus to a more positive outlook, and allows you to keep reminding yourself that there is something to look forward to.

Plan for Kent Summer Fest

Kent Summer Fest is a great opportunity to unwind, as a vast range of activities are on offer. This includes outdoor cinema screenings, food and drink, live music, and workshops. Make plans with friends to head to campus and enjoy the activities available!

No matter what you decide to do, remember that you have done your best. In a year of so many complications and difficulties, you managed to keep going and got through your exams. Well done!

White board with Hello my pronouns are _______/ ______ in multicoloured writing

Pride Month: Being an ally

Around the world, June is recognised as LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual) Pride Month to commemorate a tipping point in queer human rights history — the Stonewall Riots uprising. Find out more about Pride Month.

Pride Month presents a chance to express support for friends, family, co-workers or other LGBTQIA+ people.

Here are just some of the things you can do as an ally, not just during Pride Month, but all year long: 

  • Get educated, get involved:

Educate yourself in the history and weight of Pride and the LGBTQIA+ rights movement.

You could:

  • Watch The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson  — Marsha P. Johnson was a transgender woman, LGBTQIA+ activist and one of the prominent figures in the Stonewall Riots uprising in 1969
  • Listen to Queer as Fact, a podcast looking at queer history from around the world
  • Read Boy Erased, a memoir written by Garrard Conley about the struggles of his childhood, in which he was forced to enrol in conversion therapy by his religious family
  • Use inclusive language and unlearn common stereotypes:

Commit to using inclusive language, which recognises and honours diversity. Avoiding using gendered language like “girlfriend” or “you guys” are small ways to normalise sexual orientations or gender identities besides your own. Similarly, don’t try to ascribe individuals to dated and often sexist attributes or responsibilities traditionally delineated as “male” or “female.”

  • Use the right pronouns:

Don’t be afraid to offer your own pronouns or to respectfully ask someone theirs. Consider adding your pronouns to your email signature too. (Pronouns means how you identify — he/him, she/her, they/them, for instance — and how you’d like other people to refer to you. This is a great, inclusive practice for everyone — especially if you’re cisgender!)

  • Speak up & be vocal about your allyship:

Being a good friend or family member means having your LGBTQIA+ friend’s back. Speak out against disparaging remarks or jokes that stereotypes LGBTQIA+ people. Speak supportively of LGBTQIA+ activism in different settings. This helps normalise talking about and supporting LGBTQIA+ issues.

Look out for more LGBTQIA+ stories this month on our social media around being an ally and support available.

World Refill Day

Choose to reuse this World Refill Day!

Here at Kent we are committed to finding ways to reduce paper cup and plastic bottle use. That’s why we’re encouraging staff, students and visitors to ditch the disposable cups or bottles and use a reusable alternative instead.

Switching to a reusable cup or bottle is a great way to cut your plastic footprint. Each time you choose to re-use, even just once a week, you will be helping in the fight against single-use waste.

Plus every time you use a reusable coffee cup in one of our participating outlets (Bag It, Dolche Vita, Mungo’s, Origins, Sibson and Gulbenkian), you’ll receive a discount or a free size upgrade. So, as well as saving the planet, you’ll be saving your bank account too!

Help reduce plastic pollution this World Refill Day (Wednesday 16 June) and join the Refill Revolution!

Where can I refill my water bottle?

  • Mungo’s Bar and Diner (Eliot College) – tap is behind counter, ask staff who will happily fill water bottle for you
  • Create Café (Marlowe Building) – tap is behind counter, ask staff who will happily fill water bottle for you
  • K-Bar (Keynes College) – tap is behind counter, ask staff who will happily fill water bottle for you
  • Sibson Café (Sibson Building) – designated water station next to coffee machine
  • Origins Bar & Grill (Darwin College) – tap is behind counter, ask staff who will happily fill water bottle for you
  • Hut 8 (Turing College) – designated water station in service hatch
  • Rutherford Dining Hall (Rutherford College) – designated water station in open fridge in the dining area
  • Sports Café (Sports Centre) – tap is behind counter, ask staff who will happily fill water bottle for you
  • Dolche Vita (Keynes College) – designated water tap in dining area
  • Gulbenkian – ask staff who will happily fill water bottle for you

Find out more about World Refill Day.

Download the Refill App.

Find out more about Sustainability at Kent.

Headphones on a colourful painted wall

5 Ways Music Can Improve Your Well-being

Did you know music releases dopamine, the feel-good chemical in your brain?

Listening to music can provide psychological and physiological support that improves our overall wellbeing.

Here are a few ways music can improve your well-being:

  • Listen to music

Create a playlist with your favourite music to use as part of a relaxation or meditation routine.  Slower tempos can help you wind down and relax whereas faster tempos can make you want to dance or feel more motivated.

  • Play an instrument

Take up an instrument you’ve always been meaning to learn, or discover an instrument you used to play.

Developing a new skill can provide a space for mental for mental freedom where worries and concerns are temporarily set aside.

  • Virtual journeying

Music provides a powerful anchor to associations and memories, including vivid recollection of specific places and positive events.

  • Move to the music

Exercise releases endorphins that are known as ‘happy’ hormones which can contribute to lifting your mood.  Upbeat tempos can also help to you to feel energised, so plug in and dance around your room, go for a run or take a Zumba class.

  • Music making with others

Throughout history, music has been used to bring people together.  Join a fan base and bond over the same taste of artists, sing in a choir or join a music club or society.

Find out about music activities you can get involved with at Kent.

Kent Summer Music Week at Kent

Kent Summer Music Week runs from Sunday 6 June.  Catch up with the Sunday Swing livestream concert on YouTube that happened on Sunday 6 June.

Find out more about Kent Summer Music Week events.

Watch the Scholar’s Spotlights – a series of short filmed recitals showcasing Kent Music Performance Scholars & Music Award Holders on YouTube.

More information about Making Music at Kent.