Author Archives: Miriam Sandiford

Students smiling

Year In information event- add a year to your degree

We are holding the Year In Information Event on Tuesday 22 January in Keynes (KLT6).  If you would like to increase your skillset and expand your horizons then Year In might be for you.

The University provides exciting opportunities for students to broaden their degree experience by adding an additional year to their degree in a different subject.

Regardless of which courses you are studying, you could do an additional year in Computing, Data Analytics or Journalism.

Your additional year can be taken between stage 2 and 3, or after you have completed stage 3. The programme will be added to your degree title, letting employers know about your increased employability.

The Year In information event takes place between 16.00-17.00 where you will hear short introductions to each of the options from the academic staff who deliver these programmes. There will also be practical advice on tuition fees, visas and application processes to get onto the programmes.

Book your ticket or find out more information.

If you are coming from Medway, book a seat for the free Campus Shuttle service.

Dr Bike fixing bike outside the Student Hub

Dr Bike at Medway and bicycle marking by Medway police

Dr Bike’s first 2020 visit to Medway is coming up on Thursday 23 January. He will be outside the Student Hub between 12.30 and 15.30.

Dr Bike is a trained bicycle mechanic, who offers free cycle health checks including adjustments and advice on repairs. Major repair work and parts are available and will always be charged at a reduced rate for staff and students. The service is available to all University of Kent and University of Greenwich staff and students.

The University of Greenwich have also organised for Medway police to come and perform bike marking between 12.30 and 13.30. Marking consists of taking the frame number from your bicycle, then marking your bicycle with a unique reference number using a chemical compound and applying a semi-temperproof sticker. All of the reference numbers are then logged on to a secure database, run by BikeRegister.

Registering your bike helps the police identify the legitimate owners of bicycles that have been stolen.

The police will also be able to offer bicycle security and safety advice.

You do not need to register for the event, which is free to all. Just bring your bicycle to the Student Hub on Pembroke campus.

For more information see our cycling webpages.

Taking photo of group of students

A few words from a past finalist

It may be cliché to say, but everyone should treasure their memories of University. While the workload may at times seem insurmountable and each essay title not too dissimilar to the next, there is always someone who can help.

Having moved beyond my undergraduate course at the University of Kent, I can say without a doubt it was the support that saw me through. Through the guiding hand of my seminar leaders, I met a seemingly innumerable number of deadlines with confidence. The range of experiences on my course broadened my horizons and have helped me to become a more focused individual.

When the threat of the occasional close deadline appeared, the Support and Wellbeing department saw me through. Their mentoring offered me a relaxed environment where I could talk through my issues.  When buses failed to appear yet again or there was another inter-club scandal, someone in the University would always be there to comfort me.

The experiences I have had and the friends I have made during my time at Kent have changed me for the better. University has helped build my confidence and I am excited for whatever comes next.

-Angus Nisbet, English and American Literature MA

Angus Nisbet in graduation gown and cap

Students sat chatting to each other

Making the most of your final year

It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that final year is by far the most stressful and important year of your studies at Kent; a dissertation here, a 4000 word essay there, and pretty soon you can find yourself forced to cut back on the things you loved doing in your first few years. But do you have to? Spoilers, the answer is no.

The pressure to perform in your final year is no joke, but with some good time management you can 100% make time for the other activities you did in your earlier years. It might not be to the same extent as before but you’ll still have the opportunity to escape your studies and be a part of something, whether that be a Kent Union network, Student Rep, committee member, or if your timetable is looking especially lenient, all of the above.

You definitely don’t want to look back on your third year after you graduate wishing you’d made more of it; that you’d been a part of that sports team you’ve been looking at since first year, or joined that society committee you’re passionate about. Studies are important and your degree will set the tone for your future employment, but I would argue that the skills you learn as a rep or committee member or any other volunteering role at Kent will be just as important to a potential employer as a First Class degree.

-Ethan Basso, Undergraduate Sciences Faculty Rep

Ethan Basso

mental health spelt out with tile letters

Trial and Error: Little things that helped me with my mental health

Encouraging good mental health has always been something I have been passionate about, having suffered from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, anxiety and depression for the majority of my life. Coming to university, I found that my illnesses were exacerbated at first, as having to completely adjust to a new life can be stressful for anyone. Through a lot of trial and error, I have found ways to cope with my mental health and all the stress that comes with being mentally ill. Hopefully some of my experiences will help other people during their time at uni too.

I was privileged to have joined UKC Student Minds and be the President of the society for the past two years. Working alongside and forming friendships with other students who have had similar experiences to me was fantastic for not only normalising my experience but allowing me to develop a strong support system that has uplifted me throughout my time at Kent. As a society, we have pioneered important conversations around mental health, expanded our reach and created a safe space for mentally ill students in Kent to find support and assurance. Joining a society like ours is fantastic for creating these support systems for yourself, but any society where bonding and friendship is encouraged will be hugely beneficial to your mental health; humans are not solitary creatures, and we thrive with one another.

One of the most important things I had to learn on my mental health journey was the art of self-care. A lot of people think that it’s all bath bombs and face masks, and whilst I do love nothing better than wearing a sheet mask and watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians, there is a lot more to it than that. Self-care is doing the ‘boring’ things, like cleaning your room or brushing your teeth. It’s practising CBT techniques like Socratic thinking and thought journaling. It’s allowing yourself the opportunity to cry. Your feelings and emotions are valid and acknowledging them and allowing yourself to feel them is essential to nourishing your soul and furthering the healing process.

Seeking help is never something to be ashamed of or avoided. It is undeniable that access to mental health services is getting increasingly difficult, and the cost of these services can perturb people from utilising them. However, there are a lot of free services that you can access, especially during your time at uni. I have been very lucky to have accessed the therapy services at University during my time at Kent; I had an assessment with the Wellbeing Centre, who then organised twelve free sessions for me. In my second year I went through a charity called ThinkAction, who helped me address my OCD and the behaviours behind it. I made the decision to begin medication and consulted with my doctor about whether or not it was the right thing for me. I utilised online services like BigWhiteWall, where you can anonymously talk with your peers and develop an online support system.

Everyone’s mental health journey is different. We all cope in different ways, experience things in different ways. But as long as you form your support system, share your thoughts and feelings, and take the time to give yourself the love and care that you deserve, things will become more manageable. You’re never alone, I promise.

-Ellen Dean, English and American Literature and Creative Writing

Ellen Dean

Kent Student Awards

Kent Student Awards- nominations are open

Nominations are open for the Kent Student Awards which recognise and celebrate the outstanding contribution students make to the Kent student experience.

There are 9 categories such as Outstanding Contribution to Student Voice, Outstanding Contribution to Media and the Arts and Outstanding Contribution to the Community.

Do you know an inspirational Kent student? Well why don’t you show your appreciation by nominating them for a Kent Student Award?

You can nominate a student or group of students – the deadline is officially 22nd March but if you submit a valid nomination by Valentine’s Day you will be entered into a prize draw to win a £50 Amazon voucher.

The Kent Student Awards 2020 garden party awards ceremony takes place on Friday 29th May 2020.

Winners will receive a trophy, a brick in the ‘Footsteps Path’ and recognition of the achievement on their Higher Education Achievement Report.

The awards launched in 2014 and since 2018 has been co-led by Kent Union and the University of Kent.

Four people with arms around each other facing away

Support available for you at Kent

Picture this: you’re struggling with something academic and you need some help. Probably sounds familiar doesn’t it? So you go to your friends and ask them about it, but they can’t help. Now what? Luckily Kent has a huge range of support mechanisms for just this kind of issue, like your Student Rep. Every course has a Student Rep who gets elected every year by students, for students. If it’s an academic issue a lot of people are having they’ll take it to Student Voice Committees, where they are discussed with other Student Reps and key staff within your school to try and fix them, or send them higher up to more senior meetings if needed.

If it’s an issue that no one else seems to be having, or maybe one you don’t feel comfortable discussing with your friends, your Academic Adviser is available to help you. Every non-PGR student at Kent has an Academic Adviser who is there to provide guidance with academic matters you’re struggling with, as well as pointing you in the right direction to other services like Student Support & Wellbeing or Student Advice, to name a few.

-Ethan Basso, Undergraduate Sciences Faculty Rep

Ethan Basso

Students in a lab

School of Biosciences excels with industry accreditation

The School of Biosciences has been formally accredited across its full portfolio of undergraduate programmes. These accreditations were awarded from both the Royal Society of Biology (RSB) and the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS).

The RSB, the leading professional body for biological sciences in the UK, re-accredited all of the School’s undergraduate courses1 for a further five-year period. Furthermore, the School  achieved Advanced Accreditation for its Sandwich year programmes from the RSB2. These awards were given after the assessment panel identified areas of good practice and evidence that Kent’s programmes are preparing students with the knowledge and skills sought by sector employers.

Graduates of accredited courses receive one year of free membership from the RSB at Associate level, creating opportunities to build networks when applying for jobs and gaining enhanced recognition for their skills and experience. Together with the School’s outstanding graduate employability record, this is a huge benefit to those entering the working world of biology and life sciences.

In addition to the RSB accreditations, all of the School’s Biomedical Science degree programmes3 also achieved re-accreditation by the IBMS, the leading professional body for biomedical scientists for a further five-year period. IBMS accreditation certifies that the degrees meet the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) standards of proficiency for biomedical scientists and allows Kent graduates to enter further training on the path towards registration. IBMS degree accreditation is also of value for students heading towards other careers, such as medicine, industry and academia. The curriculum review process involved in IBMS accreditation ensures that all Kent Biomedical Science graduates receive high quality, research focused scientific education and practical skills training.

Professor Dan Lloyd, Deputy Head of the School of Biosciences, said: ‘We are grateful to all staff, clinical colleagues and students who have contributed to this success. The professional oversight and scrutiny of accreditation is a measure of confidence that our degrees prepare our students for graduate-level opportunities. This undoubtedly underpins students’ future employability, and the ability for them to reach their full potential.’


[1] Accredited courses by the Royal Society of Biology: BSc (Hons) Biochemistry, BSc (Hons) Biochemistry with a Professional Year, BSc (Hons) Biochemistry with a Year Abroad, BSc (Hons) Biology, BSc (Hons) Biology with a Professional Year, BSc (Hons) Biology with a Year Abroad, BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science, BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science with a Professional Year, BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science with a Year Abroad.

[2] Course with Advanced Accreditation from the Royal Society of Biology: BSc (Hons) Biochemistry with a Sandwich Year, BSc (Hons) Biology with a Sandwich Year, BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science with a Sandwich Year.

[3] Accredited courses by the IBMS: BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science, BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science with a Professional Year, BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science with a Year Abroad, BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science with a Sandwich Year.

Overhead view of desk with laptop, drink, snacks

Ways to de-stress and prepare for exams

Exams are fast approaching. So how do you take care of yourself in order to avoid getting overly stressed?

Prep, prep and prep

Preparation is key. Make sure you leave enough time to prepare for your exams and make a study schedule that fits your way of studying.

There are several places you can go for revision and assignment support, including your academic adviser and the Student Learning Advisory Service (SLAS). SLAS provide one-to-one appointments to develop your study skills as well as bookable workshops and online learning resources.

You’ll find the past exam papers for your modules on the relevant Moodle module pages. Find out more on the study support webpage.

Look after yourself

Make sure you are getting enough sleep to help you focus well in the day, and plan regular breaks spending time doing things which make you feel good – whether that’s hanging out with friends, playing sport or listening to music. Eating well will give you energy and structure your time – did you know there will be free cooking workshops on campus this term? Check out the Enhance Your Wellbeing programme for more details.

Look out for a variety of free wellbeing activities across campus this term so as you take breaks you can #TrySomethingNewForFree. Follow the Student Support and Wellbeing Team @UniKentSSW on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date with what’s on offer.

Know what tools and services are available to you

There are also many tools and services that you can access at Kent. On the Productivity Tools website you can filter by different categories such as Study Support and Revision, Time Management and Wellbeing to find key tools, services and websites to support you.

If you find yourself struggling, you can use Big White Wall for 24/7 online support for issues around mental health and wellbeing. If you would prefer to speak to someone on the phone, Nightline is a student-run listening and information service supporting students throughout the night.

You can also speak to the Wellbeing Team who are there to help you. Check out the Student Support and Wellbeing video for an overview of how they can support you during the exam period and the rest of your time at Kent.