Author Archives: Miriam Sandiford

Canterbury Unibuses suspended in service reduction

As part of their service reduction, Stagecoach have temporarily suspended operating the Unibuses to and from Canterbury campus.

This means that the Number 4 bus will be the only bus serving the Canterbury campus at this time, every 30 minutes.

See Stagecoach service updates webpage to learn more about changes to their services during the pandemic.

man sat at laptop drawing

Things you can and can’t do in lockdown

We are currently in the third national lockdown and restrictions have been put in place by the Government on the things you can and cannot do. We have provided examples for some of these rules to help explain what they mean for a University of Kent student.  

You can leave your home for a ‘reasonable’ excuse, some of which include 

  • Essential activities. For example, going to the Parkwood Co-op to shop, going to the Pilkington building for food and drink, getting a meal using your Flex credits or catering packages from Rutherford Dining Hall, and attending a doctor’s appointment. Lockdown has meant the opening hours for facilities at Kent have been changed. In particular, please note the main Kent Union Plaza Co-op will stay closed until further notice. 
  • Meeting others to attend a support group. This means you cannot meet and socialise in person with students from other houses or flats unless you are part of a formal support group. For example, the social campus walks organised by Student Support and Wellbeing. 
  • Exercise with one other person, or with your household or support bubble. For example, going on a walk as part of the Walking Buddy scheme or with your flatmates. Here are some ideas for scenic walks around Canterbury 

It is important to note that you are allowed to use the University facilities if you follow the guidance set out in the University FAQs. This means:  

If you are in on-campus or term time accommodation  

The Templeman LibraryDrill Hall library and Canterbury campus study spaces are open. You will find some changes have been made to help keep everyone safe. Please only make use of the facilities when it is essential to do so to reduce the number of people on campus at any one time. 

If you are at your permanent home  

You should stay at your current home and not travel between your permanent and term-time addresses. You should avoid returning to University to collect your belongings. Only return to campus accommodation in truly exceptional circumstancesfor instance: 

  • Where you do not have access to appropriate alternative accommodation, facilities, or study space (including research students who require access to specialist facilities for their work) 
  • or you need to return for health/mental health or safety reasons (including collecting any medical equipment or items required for online learning if it essential) 
  • or you are arriving from overseas and have made travel arrangements that you cannot change or cannot change without prohibitive expense. 

Please note that access to library books is not a sufficient requirement for returning to campus. Please contact your School for guidance around alternative online material. 

You can read more about Spring return and travel arrangements on the University webpage.  

 

Hand holding "hello" sticker with smiley face

Ways to connect with other Kent students

As England is now in another national lockdown, it can become easy to feel isolated. Here are some ways you can connect with other Kent students: 

On campus ways to connect 

According to the current Government guidance, you can meet with one other person from another household in a public place for exercise. Formally organised support groups can also meet in person up to 15 participants. Make sure you maintain social distancing by staying 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household. 

Walking buddy

Stuck in your room and need to get out, but no one around to go for a walk with? We can put you in touch with a walking buddy! A great opportunity to meet another student and energise your mind. Send us an email and we’ll randomly match you with a student to meet the following week. 

Social campus Friday walk (Wellbeing support group) 

A chance to familiarise yourself with the routes between Colleges on campus, whilst meeting other students. Join one of our Student Support Advisers for a wellbeing walk around the Canterbury campus.  

Social campus Wednesday Walk (Autism support group) 

This Disability Adviser led walk around the Canterbury campus will allow you to explore the surrounding areas, whilst meeting and chatting with other autistic students at Kent.   

Virtual ways to connect 

Just Coffee

Want to have a virtual coffee break and fancy meeting someone new? We can put you in touch with someone who wants to meet up virtually, just send us an email and we’ll randomly match you with another student. Don’t forget to share a photo of your virtual meet up for a chance to win free drinks! 

Join online events 

There are still a wide range of events happening online which you can view on the student events calendar. There are events relating to improving your employability, mindfulness and Study Plus events on a range of topics such as Sustainability and Personal Presence. Keep the boredom at bay and meet new people in the process. 

Wellbeing café 

The Wellbeing Café is held weekly and is a place where you can meet with other students online for mental health support, games and creative pursuits. We will explore general mental health themes such as dealing with anxiety and managing your mood, whilst providing the opportunity to connect with other students, in a friendly informal setting. 

Kent Union virtual buddy scheme 

The Virtual Buddy Scheme is co-ordinated by Kent Union to help students through university life. It’s an opportunity for students to connect and look out for each other, wherever you are. Current Kent students (Buddy Volunteers) are matched with a Buddy according to their preferences, such as interests, course, language or what they need right now. 

Societies and groups 

It’s not too late to join a society at Canterbury or Medway. Societies are a group way to meet others who have similar interests to you. Why not take a look to see what’s on offer? From politics and campaigning to cultural, there’s something for everyone! You can chat to societies at Kent Union’s Welcome Back Fair (Canterbury) and  GKSU’s Welcome Back Fair at Medway.

Don’t forget to check in with friends and make sure they are feeling okay. A little message may help boost someone’s spirit and help them feel less alone. 

 

overhead view of laptop with person typing and plant on desk

Student advice: how to stay productive in lockdown

During the last national lockdown, we asked Kent students for their tips on how to stay to stay productive in lockdown. Here are their suggestions and tips!

Tanya Iyer (Stage 2 Law Student) – “Make to-do lists the night before and keep them small with specific tasks, rather than vague big ones…You feel more productive and motivated as you can tick things off quickly!”

Daniella Barnes (Stage 3 Law Student) – “Staying productive in lockdown only works if you have a positive mentality. I start each week with planning my prospective workload. I give myself aims and tasks to complete so at the end of the week I have a visual checklist of how productive I’ve been. Be kind to yourself, practice self-care and don’t overload yourself.”

Ismail Abdi (Stage 2 Marketing Student) – “I stay productive by using a schedule, essentially placing times on my calendar to do my university work and other things outside of my course. I also use a checklist so I can tick off and see what needs to be completed for the week.”

Sofia Howard (Stage 2 Law Student) – “I take short breaks, walk around, eat, and spend time away from my screen. If I feel like I’ve been in front of a screen for too long, I will have the day off and continue the next day. I feel like it refreshes my mind! I also work out in the mornings, which seems to give me more motivation throughout the day.”

Shanell Cornwall (Stage 3 Psychology Student) – “I personally stay motivated by setting 3 goals everyday – one big goal and two little ones. I think doing it this way really helps track progress which makes me feel more productive. It’s crucial to take time out and give yourself time to recharge between workloads.”

Faye Farhan (Stage 2 Law Student) – “If you have to tackle a lot of reading tasks, it’s best to allocate a particular time in the day for reading, and to overestimate how much time you need! Plan 5-10 minute breaks for every hour you read for.”

Lauren Whitfield (Stage 2 Marketing Student) – “I have been getting ahead on my work, watching lectures in advance and doing any further reading that could aid me in my studies. I also took this as an opportunity to start my reports in advance, giving me more time to conduct my research and form a thorough plan.”

Ellie House (Stage 2 Law Student) – “Making sure you take a break from work and set time aside for yourself is definitely important. I like to keep evenings away from work to spend time socialising or even just watching TV. I always find doing this helps me feel more productive the next day as I’ve had some time to refresh!”

Gemma Overy (Stage 2 Psychology Student) – “Set deadlines for yourself – not just the deadline for a project but when you want to achieve each smaller section by. Start revision early if you feel like you have nothing to do, even if it’s only a couple of hours a week.’

James Hulme (Stage 2 Biomedical Engineering Student) – “List your tasks and deadlines and try to prioritise them. Try to timetable your work so you have a structure, but still take regular breaks.”

Ayesha Shirgill (Stage 3 Law and Spanish Language Student) – “Set yourself deadlines of what time to work up until each day to ensure you can look forward to enjoying some free time.”

Dylan Thakker (Stage 2 Law Student) – “Take frequent breaks to reward work. Taking a break can be anything from having a call with your parents to having a quick walk – then I get back to work promptly. I break work down into smaller sections and reward myself with breaks when I get certain bits done.”

For more information on managing your studies during lockdown, and particularly how to stay motivated, take a look at Rowena and Megan’s Instagram Live.

Cyber coding graphic

‘Kentish Cyber’ in the final of UK Cyber Challenge

A team of Kent students has recently been selected for the finals of the 4th Annual UK Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge. This is the first time the University and Kent’s new Institute for Advanced Studies in Cyber Security and Conflict (SoCyETAL) will be represented at the competition.

The team of 4, coached by Dr Gareth Mott, is comprised of a 50:50 split of male and female Undergraduate and Postgraduate students from the School of Computing, Kent Law School and the School of Politics and International Relations.

The Kentish Cyber Team:

  • Keenan Jones, School of Computing
  • Nandita Pattnaik, School of Computing
  • Ben Treacy, School of Politics & International Relations
  • Hala Zein, Kent Law School
  • Dr Gareth Mott, School of Politics & International Relations (Coach)

In this strategy challenge, competitors will take on the role of senior advisors to government and industry, in facing a complex escalating cyber-attack. They will use their varied technical and non-technical expertise from different disciplines to assess the unfolding threat, before briefing a panel of senior UK and international cyber leaders on potential mitigation strategies.

Dr Gareth Mott said: “We are elated and proud that Kentish Cyber have made it through to the final of the UK Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge. We hope that our students make the most of this fantastic interactive learning experience and ‘real-life’ scenario-based challenge. This is a great opportunity for our team to gain first-hand experience with the critical challenge of ensuring cyber-security in an increasingly interconnected world. Our staff and students are delighted to be a part of this endeavour for the first time of hopefully many. Kentish Cyber will embrace the chance to showcase the strength and breadth of ‘big tent’ interdisciplinary teaching and research in cyber security at the University of Kent”.

The virtual event, hosted by the Atlantic Council UK, will take place 16-17 February.

Best of luck to Kentish Cyber!

Three students chatting and laughing in student kitchen

Returning student accommodation applications open for September 2021!

We’ve set aside a limited number of rooms across campus exclusively for returning students, so whether you are in your second, third or fourth year you can enjoy the great benefits of living on campus once again with online applications accepted from 10.00 Thursday 14 January!

We understand the pressure you’re under at the moment and our returning student offer has been designed to make things easier for you by including:

  • Ability to apply to live with your friends (see our FAQs for more info)
  • Not needing to pay anything until September 2021 as there are no deposits needed to secure your room
  • Flexibility for early applicants as we will cancel any legally binding accommodation agreement for the 2021/22 academic year with no penalties if you notify us by Friday 9 April 2021
  • All utilities are included (gas, water, electricity, heating and Wi-Fi) as well as Kent Sport Premium Plus membership
  • Designated returning student rooms are set aside in all accommodation areas (except for Eliot and Turing College which are reserved for first year students). W also have returning KMMS student accommodation
  • Contract lengths that match your academic terms beginning for the start of term in September, meaning you won’t have to pay extra rent over the summer months
  • Quick confirmation as early applicants will find out if their application is successful at the end of January and receive their room allocation information from March.

Check your emails from the Accommodation Team or visit our Returning Student Accommodation page for more information including our handy FAQ Guide.

So, remove the worry of finding a new place to live, and instead apply online now and relax knowing you can live with friends and have the great facilities available on campus to return to next year.

 

Practical online learning tips

While you are probably very familiar with online study by now, we want to share some practical tips to get you back into the online learning headspace after the Winter vacation.  

We hope these tips are helpful. The start of term is the perfect time to fix any ongoing technical issues you might have been ignoring. Contact thIT and Library Support Desk who will do their best to help you.

Two cups of tea

Turning Blue Monday to Brew Monday

Are you feeling blue?

The start of the new term this year coincides with the annual ‘Blue Monday’ which claims to be the most depressing day of the year.

This year has been challenging and the start of the Spring term isn’t what anyone hoped for. You have already overcome many challenges and that is something you should be proud of. However, it is important to remember you are not alone and there are loads of great support services at the University.

So, let’s change ‘Blue Monday’ to ‘Brew Monday’ this year and take the opportunity to virtually catch-up with friends, course mates and family with a cup of tea, coffee or whatever your preferred brew is!

It’s important, now more than ever, to check in on one another, and create safe spaces for friends.

There is an abundance of support available throughout the University, from a free counselling service to peer-support groups and online resources.

  • In true Brew Monday fashion – sign up to Just Coffee to be randomly matched with another student to have a virtual coffee break and a chat.
  • Join the Wellbeing Café which runs weekly beginning 18 January to meet with other students online for mental health support, games and creative pursuits.
  • If you feel that you need some guidance to be more mindful in your everyday life, join an online Mindfulness session every Wednesday afternoon.
  • Look at Wellbeing Ideas for Uncertain Times for ideas such as wellbeing book recommendations or a chill-out playlist.
  • If you’re feeling overwhelmed, a stress management session may be of use to you: In this online workshop delivered by Coral Warner, a qualified counsellor, you will have the opportunity to learn how to identify stress triggers and understand how to manage stress levels effectively.
  • Check out the Student support events calendar to see other workshops, events and support groups that are available.

Please follow @UniKentSSW on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook for news on other events and peer support groups taking place throughout the year.

Other resources that are available to you

Togetherall: University of Kent students wherever they are located can access free, 24/7 online support for issues around mental health and wellbeing.

Student Minds: a UK student mental health charity.

More self-help resources.

While the obstacles remain different to previous years, the new term can offer a fresh start, take the opportunity of Brew Monday and know that you are not alone.

Walking Buddy (on campus)

Stuck in your room and need to get out, but nobody is around to go for a walk? We can put you in touch with a walking buddy. This is a great opportunity to get out, meet another student and energise your mind! Find a reason to leave your accommodation, get outside and enjoy the fresh air with someone else.

If you’d like to take part and find a buddy, simply email wellbeingevents@kent.ac.uk from your Kent email address giving your mobile number and saying that you’d like to be matched for a Walking Buddy stating which campus (Canterbury or Medway) by midday on Friday, and we’ll randomly match you with another student to meet the following week.

For more information and to sign up, check out the  Student Support and Wellbeing Events Calendar.

Please note: From 5 January 2021, England has entered a third national lockdown. You are able to meet with one other person from another household in a public place for exercise. Make you maintain social distancing (stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household.)