Author Archives: Ronke Adeyemi

Self isolating as a parent

Studying while self isolating can be difficult as it is but when you have other priorities such as childcare then you will need to rethink how you work.

The first thing to do is to establish a routine and stick to it. Children find routine very reassuring and calming so keep your getting-up, meal and bed times the same as normal and make sure that school work is still getting done.

Get your own studying done during evenings and mornings when your children are asleep or having some down time. You could get a head start by planning what you will study at each time.

If your children are teenagers then the key is to balance your time so you can give them the space they need.

If you have more than one child then try to find time while you are isolated to have parent one-to-ones with each of your kids. This could be hot chocolate or breakfast together, reorganising a room, anything that gives opportunity for conversation.

Make the most of having the children at home by involving them in the day to day running of the house – even nursery-age children are able to help with washing-up, dusting and laundry, so you don’t need to wear yourself out whilst they zone out in front of the TV.

If you can balance childcare or caring responsibilities with a partner please consider doing so. In the event that you are finding it impossible to balance childcare or caring responsibilities, or any other issue with your studies, please contact your School Support Office to discuss your individual concerns.

Students smiling

Deadline for Year In Extended

The deadline for applications for the Year In programme has been extended to Thursday 30th April. This is an initiative where students can broaden their degree experience by adding an additional year but in a different subject. Regardless of which courses you are studying, you could obtain skills and experience 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. This is a real opportunity to learn about a completely different area and gain some industry skills, experience as well as contacts.

For more information about Year In, please visit their website.

How to keep physically active while you are self isolating

Self isolation can be tough – along with studying, eating well and catching up with your friends and family, you need to make sure you are getting enough exercise.

With the sports hall closed and public gyms closed for the unforeseeable future, getting your regular exercise can be tricky. Also staying at home for long periods of time can make you lose the motivation to keep fit.

However, it is imperative that you take up physical exercise because not only does it keep you calm and will also boost your health during this unprecedented time.

Here are some tips on how to stay physically active when self isolating.

Take short active breaks during the day

Short bouts of physical activity add up to the weekly recommendations. Dancing and performing domestic chores such as cleaning and gardening are other ways to stay active at home.

Follow an online exercise class

If you can’t get up in time to join Joe Wicks, why not take advantage of the amount of online exercise classes available on YouTube? They are free and there are lots to choose from.

Walk

Even in small spaces, walking around or walking on the spot, can help you remain active. If you are on a call with classmates, stand or walk around your home while you speak, instead of sitting down. If you decide to go outside to walk or exercise, be sure to maintain at least a 1-meter distance from other people.

Stand up while studying

Mix up your study habits by standing up whenever possible. Consider setting up a standing desk by using a high table or stacking a pile of books or other materials, to continue working while standing.

Managing your anxiety during Coronavirus

Whether you are a first year Undergraduate student or finishing off your PHD, this could be a very stressful time for you. Assessments and exams while self isolating and social distancing is new for all of us. Here are some ways for you to manage your anxiety and fears during Coronavirus.

Identify your triggers

The first thing to do to manage your anxiety is to identify what triggers them. Sometimes they can be obvious, like caffeine, drinking alcohol, or smoking. Other times they can be less obvious, so try and keep a diary of what it is that makes you anxious.

Work out

Sometimes, the best way to stop anxious thoughts is to walk away from the situation. However, taking some time to focus on your body and not your mind may help relieve your anxiety. So we highly recommend doing 15 minutes of yoga each day to keep you nice and relaxed.

Breathing

Controlled breathing can gives you feelings of calm and relaxation and most breathing techniques can be used just about anywhere. Try deep breathing in for four counts and breathing out for four counts for five minutes total. By doing this, you’ll slow your heart rate which should help calm you down

Write down your thoughts

Writing down what is making you anxious is a great way to ease your anxiety. It gets it out of your head and can make it less daunting. You can either use a notepad, or journal or an app.

Limit the news

You can’t switch on the TV or radio without hearing the latest about Coronavirus. The best thing to do is realise your limits and reduce yourself to an hour of news a day.

Listen to a podcast

What did we ever do without podcasts? There is one that serves every need and purpose; so whether you are interested in popular culture, sport, music, interviews with personalities, you will find a podcast that is perfect for you.

Schedule face time with family and close friends

Sometimes chatting in a group chat on WhatsApp is simply not enough, so why not schedule some time in with your close friends and family to have a catch up.

You can get in contact with Student Support & Wellbeing if you need to speak to someone about your anxiety. Email Student Support and Wellbeing at wellbeing@kent.ac.uk to arrange phone or online support.

How to get support from the University and Union during Coronavirus

The University and Union are offering our students advice and support throughout the Coronavirus situation. Kent Union, GK Union, Student Services and Careers and Employability Service are all offering support on finance, studies and careers.

Student Services

They are providing support and guidance regarding online examinations for taught programmes, you can reach them at exams2020@kent.ac.uk.

If you want to speak to someone about your mental health you can email Student Support and Wellbeing at wellbeing@kent.ac.uk to arrange phone or online support.

Kent Union

The Kent Union Advice Centre is still available remotely during its usual hours (10:00–16:00).

Their Advice team can help with the following:

  • Financial issues – they can help you access Hardship funds that are available, as well as offer advice and support
  • Academic support – if you have worries or concerns over your academic work, assessments, exams etc.
  • Visa and other advice for international students – we know this is likely to be a very worrying time and the Advice Centre can ensure you have the right information and access to what you need.
  • Housing advice – we have provided some Housing related FAQs here.

You can contact them by phone (01227 827724) or by email at advice@kent.ac.uk.

GK Union

GK Unions Advice service can reached by email and phone. You can contact them by completing a Contact Form (if you need to send an attachment please instead email advice@gkunions.co.uk). You can also call their Advice Line on 01634 88 88 55.

The Careers and Employability Service

The Careers and Employability Service are working remotely and staff are happy to help you with the following:

  • Careers Advice
  • Reviewing your CV
  • Reading though application forms
  • Reviewing cover letters
  • Providing feedback on LinkedIn profiles
  • Reading through personal statements
  • Providing advice on job hunting
  • Mock interviews

You can book an appointment either by emailing careerhelp@kent.ac.uk or by logging onto Target Connect.

Student Learning Advisory Service

This is an academic support service available to every student at the University. They offer a range of study skills services and provide practical, academic advice, guidance and help geared to specific stages of University study. They are continuing to provide individual study, assignment and exam prep tuition and guidance. All appointments are currently taking place via Skype or email. If you would like to use their services, please contact them via learning@kent.ac.uk or book via the website.

Chaplaincy Team

Members of the Multifaith Chaplaincy Team are able to respond to questions, enquiries and offer appropriate support via phone or email. It may also be possible to link students to systems of support being offered locally by the various faith communities. You can head to their website for the contact details.

How to study remotely during self isolation

Not having access to your tutors, study areas and library can be a big shock to the system. Plus having to adapt to a new working environment which is doubling up as a live/study space with housemates can be problematic. We have put together some tips that help you to study effectively remotely.

Get into a routine and stick to it

Work out when you are most productive – are you a morning bird, afternoon person or are you a night owl?

Find your perfect spot

As draconian as it sounds, we are much more productive when sitting at a desk, so try and study there. If you are fortunate to have access to a quiet lounge or kitchen space then make use of that.

Get rid of all your distractions and that means your phone

The phone is by far the biggest time killer. I would advise that you turn off all your settings so you are not disturbed. If you find your phone too much of a temptation then just either switch it off or leave it in another room.

Create a study schedule

Set specific times for studying and for breaks. Start out doing periods of 30 minutes to study and five minutes for a break. When you know you have a break coming up, you will find it easier to focus on your studying. As you get used to this schedule, increase the study times to 45 and then 60 minutes. You could also try the Pomodoro technique. 25 minute intervals of work followed by a break.

Meditation

Recent studies show that meditating before you study can improve your reading comprehension, memory, concentration, stress and anxiety. There are some great apps that help you to meditate such as Headspace.

Noisy housemates

If you are lucky to have noise cancelling headphones, these can work like a dream. Or another idea is to work out when your house is the most noisy and quiet and organise your working hours around those times. If neither of these work then you might have to call a house meeting.

Online study resources to help you when self isolating

Now the University has moved to remote teaching across all campuses (with the exception of the Tonbridge Centre) and the government telling us to stay home, that means remote studying and lots of it.

Studying is stressful at the best of times but when you cannot attend lectures or physically access a library that can make it worse. The University are determined to support you through this period and we have put together a guide on the online resources we have available to help you through your studies.

Your academic school will give you additional programme and module-specific information. So please check with them.

Moodle

Moodle is the Virtual Learning Environment for the University of Kent. This is where you will find your course materials such as handouts, lecture notes and PowerPoint presentations. Your tutors may use Moodle in more interactive ways such as discussion forums, chat rooms, quizzes and assignment drop-boxes. You can also submit your assignments here.

KentPlayer

KentPlayer can also be used to ‘live stream’ lectures, so you can access it from any device that is web-enabled. Your module convenor will let you know how and when they will be using KentPlayer to deliver lectures. Tutors can record their lectures and upload them to this platforms for you watch via Moodle.

Blackboard Ally

Just know as Blackboard, this platform gives you access to alternative versions of files and resources in Moodle. For example you could have your lecture slides read aloud by choosing the mp3 output option.

Library

Although the library is closed they have an abundance of online material that can help you with your studies. You are more than welcome to email them at helpdesk@kent.ac.uk or you can call the staff at Templeman on 01227 824999 or Drill Hall at 01634 88 3278. Alternatively you can chat to them on our web pages

If you need in-depth subject support from your liaison librarian, please email helpdesk@kent.ac.uk for Templeman and dhl-librarians@gre.ac.uk for Drill Hall.
There is also a digital library services which can connect you with the resources you need, wherever you are, such as e-books, e-journals, databases and newspapers. There is detailed guidance on how to do this on the IS library resources web pages.

As well as the resources in your Digital Library a number of suppliers of academic resources have made content freely available to support remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Microsoft Teams

You can also use Teams which is an online space where you can chat to fellow students, share files, attend seminars, take part in meetings and work collaboratively. It gives you online access from anywhere, on any device: No need to use the VPN.

Microsoft Teams for Students Has Launched

The Library and Information Services have introduced Microsoft Teams for students as part of the Office 365 package. Microsoft Teams is an online space where you can chat to fellow students, share files, attend seminars, take part in meetings and work collaboratively.

Even better, it gives you online access from anywhere, on any device, so no need to use the VPN. Perfect during this COIVD 19 lockdown as it will allow you to carry on working on your group projects and share ideas with classmates.

The benefits of Microsoft Teams are below:

Desktop and mobile apps available

To get all the benefits of Teams, we recommend downloading the app onto your devices. If you have the app you can even share your screen with support staff, who can use it to offer remote help with IT issues.

Text and video chat

This is perfect for virtual group work, quick discussions with lecturers or a chat with a fellow student to check in and say hi. These tools can be used with anyone inside or outside of the University and not just within your module-based team.

Channels

Teams uses channels to separate content. Channels are set up by the Team owner (your convenor) and within each channel you can store files, hold virtual meetings and have ‘threaded’ conversations. This is similar to other services like Slack or Discord.

File sharing and collaboration

Microsoft Office files can be shared in channels or in chat and can be live-edited by multiple people at once. You can do this within Teams, without having to open other web apps or desktop apps. You can also download files but once you do this it won’t update if further changes are made within Teams.

A Team space has been set up for every module and if your module convenor plans to use it for online teaching, they’ll be in touch with you.

Access Teams by clicking on this link.

Enter your login details:

Username: username@kent.ac.uk (example: abc1@kent.ac.uk)
Password: your Kent IT account password

Choose the Teams app and you’re ready to go!

To download the Desktop app, use the download icon on the bottom left within the web app. On your mobile device, search ‘Microsoft Teams’ on your App / Play store.

How To Self Isolate

Self isolating/social distancing means non-essential contact with other people. To achieve this, you need to study at home, avoid all unnecessary travel and avoid public gatherings.

Self-isolating and social distancing can feel lonely and lead to anxiety, depression and make you feel demotivated. So we have put together some tips for you on how to make the most of the situation.

Write a to-do list

You will find a to-do list keeps you on-track and motivated. Also it’s an amazing feeling when you tick off things on the list. The best thing to do is to write the list the day before or first thing in the morning.

Take regular breaks

Regardless of your workload, please remember to take regular breaks especially to have lunch or dinner. This is vital to keep you refreshed and your energy levels up.

Stay in touch

You might not be able to physically meet people but you can stay in touch thanks to the wonders of technology. Skype, Zoom and Facetime friends and family and chat via Whatsapp with fellow students. Remember that Student Services and your tutors are available for you to contact and Kent Union are very active on Social Media with lots of advice.

Eat healthily

This might be a bit of an ask considering what is going on in the shops but you can still eat healthily by using staple ingredients such a fruit, veg, milk, rice and potatoes. You can look up recipes online.

Exercise

While you are at home it is essential to keep fit and you can do this by following exercises on YouTube or use fitness DVD.

Binge on Netflix and box sets

What better way to end the day than by binging on a box set or watching a TV series or film on Netflix. The platform has launched a new facility called Netflix Party where you can chat with your mates while watching the same film or TV show at the same time. Genius!

Overall, stay safe and make the most of the time. Also remember that you are not alone.

IWD

Former Students Who Epitomise International Woman’s Day

International Women’s Day took place on Sunday and there were hundreds of events around the country to celebrate the occasion. Aleeya Gibson a second year Astronomy, Space Science and Astrophysics student has shared her thoughts about the day and featured former University of Kent female students who have gone on to achieve great things.

International Women’s Day is a ceremonious day for the power and influence in everyday life that women have. Women in early moments in history have been the back burner from their accomplishments due to people not believing them.

Luckily in the past 100 years or so women have been encouraged and are no longer put on the backburner. Examples of this include Ada Lovelace, a mathematician and writer who was one of the pioneers for the concept of the computer. Also Marie Curie, a woman who conducted research on radioactivity which has many uses today.

What some people do not know is that there are many influential women who have attended the University of Kent, such as Valerie Bloom who is a Jamaican poet who earned a Bachelor and Master degrees as well as being appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire in 2008.

Then there is Jane Harper, a novelist of thriller novels which she decided to venture into 13 years after being an accomplished journalist, showing that there is never bad time for you to find what you are passionate in.

Even the well-known E.L.James, who penned the bestselling novel, Fifty Shades of Grey which have been turned into three successful movies. A woman who was able to turn her own alternative stories of Twilight into a novel that will be known for many years to come.

Probably the most known of all the women is Ellie Goulding, who is a charting singer and songwriter who was recently able to get her Doctorate at the University as well as her many accomplishment which include her song Burn, being a chart topper.

With all these accomplishments within our University and outside in wider society it is important to highlight things that you and the people around you have done and make sure that they are getting the recognition that they deserve, because you never know if their idea may become something phenomenal in the future.

Happy International Women’s Day everyone.