Author Archives: Rowena Bicknell

Tips to get back into study after a long break

It’s not easy to return after a long break, so don’t be too tough on yourself if you’re struggling to get back into study mode. Whether it’s a summer break, or you’re returning as a mature student looking for a career change, it can be a daunting and overwhelming task to readjust. Here are some tips from our past students which you may find helpful.

If you’re feeling anxious about starting to study again and have the tendency to procrastinate (I know I do) just tell yourself you’ll just do a 30-minute session to get you going. Even if you’re struggling to concentrate, 30 minutes doesn’t seem too unmanageable! What usually happens is after about 20-25 minutes you start getting into your study, and before you know it you’ve done 1-2 hours.

You might also find StayFocusd and Tomato Timer helpful in keeping your concentration. StayFocusd stops you from getting distracted by websites and social media whereas Tomato Timer breaks up your studying into smaller chunks.  Make sure to check out the other productivity tools recommended by Kent!

After taking a 2-year break from studying, it took a while to return into an academic mindset especially after working full-time. I found advanced planning and group study sessions helped get me back into the swing of things. It also really helped that I was studying a subject that I can directly apply to my role.

If you’re looking for somewhere suitable to meet up, the Templeman Library has plenty of relaxed study areas for group work. It has re-opened but with limited services so keep this in mind ahead of your visit.

Plan ahead! If you know you have an early seminar make sure you’re prepared and have enough sleep. I usually try and return to a more regular sleep schedule 2 weeks before term starts, giving my body enough time to get used to the early starts.

Make the most out of feedback sessions. You can speak to the Student Learning Advisory Service (SLAS) for extra support in your studies e.g. if it’s been a while since you’ve written in an academic style. Slowly get back into a routine, don’t rush yourself.

Tips for your second year

Can you believe a whole year has gone by since you first started at Kent – where did the time go! With your second year just around the corner, you might be wondering what this means for your university life now you’re no longer a Fresher. Here are some tips for your second year by students who have been there to help you settle back into university life and make the most of the year!

An increased workload

Personally, I found second year to be the most challenging year of my undergraduate. Having the option to have a greater choice of modules, now most of the standard, introductory modules were complete, meant greater flexibility and I was able to really explore the areas of psychology I thought I would be most interested in. This however did come with an increased workload which I definitely underestimated! Plan ahead by getting a diary and make sure to have all your deadlines and exams in there as soon as you find out so you can give yourself plenty of time to prepare. Push through the hard times and don’t give up! It’ll all be worth it later!

Remember you’re not a Fresher anymore!

Your main focus for coming to university was for your studies and second year is when this really starts to count. You won’t be able to go out every night as you were used to as this can impact on your studies. It may make it more difficult to catch up several months down the line and cause your future self to be even more stressed when exam season creeps up. This doesn’t mean you still can’t have fun and go out, just make sure you set aside enough time to complete your weekly goals.

Explore the local area

You might be living off-campus now and have access to more shops outside of your normal route to and from campus. Have a look around outside of your usual as you might be able to save some money by shopping elsewhere. Make the most of the local area and really explore what the city has to offer. Go on a walk, discover, and learn something new!

Take care of yourself

Be sure to make time for yourself to relax and unwind. Have dedicated time for yourself every week doing something you enjoy, whether that may be reading a book unrelated to your studies or going on a walk.

There’s lots of support available at Kent. If you’re struggling with a problem and you think you might benefit from discussing with this someone outside your circle of family and friends, never feel that you’re alone. You can set up a confidential appointment with Student Support and Wellbeing who can help you through any particularly challenging times. Additionally, if you’re eligible, have an Inclusive Learning Plan (ILP) set up ahead of time. It’s one of the best things you can do to reduce stress. An ILP is where some reasonable adjustments are made tailored to you around your course, assessments, and exams to give you that extra bit of support.

Try something new

Every year there is a Welcome Fair where sports, societies, and volunteering groups all come and showcase what they have to offer. You may have attended last year, signing up to everything or only hopping from stall to stall for freebies. This year actually sign up and join something different. Most students don’t even give a new sport or activity a go and regret it later when they have less time in their final year. There are usually free taster sessions so you have nothing to lose. Even if you decide you don’t fancy it that’s fine. Or, you never know, this could be the beginning of a lifelong hobby!


Pops Orchestra: an informal play-through of music from stage and screen, 24 Oct

If you enjoy playing film music and scores from classical musicals, come and try the Pops Orchestra at its first rehearsal!

An informal weekly play-through of popular film and musical scores (and conducted with varying degrees of success by the Deputy Director Music) Pops Orchestra is an informal ensemble open to all students, staff and alumni – no audition required!

Join us on Thursday 24 October at 1pm for an hour-long session including music from ‘Jurassic Park,’ ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and more, and turn your lunchtime into a musical journey across the silver screen…

Image of Nora Laraki

PhD student Nora Laraki curates exhibition on the Berlin Wall

Doctoral student Nora Laraki, who is completing a PhD in the History and Philosophy of Art, has curated and produced an exhibition at the 12 Star Gallery in Europe House, London, entitled ‘”If Only You Could Be Here…”: Love Letters Across the Berlin Wall’.

The Berlin Wall divided East and West Germany for nearly 30 years until its fall in 1989. East and West Germany only had limited opportunities to visit each other, and even less for East and West Berliners. Families, friends and lovers were divided and many people tried to escape from East to West.

The exhibition features works by the Berlin art collective Tape That, and focuses on three special love stories between East and West Germans that took place in the shadow of the Berlin Wall. Three couples fell in love during the German division. Their stories, of love that defied a time of isolation and separation, were kept alive through letters. Here, in this exhibition you will have the opportunity to see Germany’s Cold War history from a new and unexpected perspective. This is a story about devotion without borders, without walls, told in the words of the lovers themselves.

The exhibition is supported by the German Historical Institute of London and the Goethe-Institut in London, and was produced in partnership with the European Commission.

Nora’s research project is entitled ‘What is the Impact of Corporate Art Collectors on the West-European Contemporary Art Market (and its Art Production)?’, and is supervised by Dr Ben Thomas, Reader in the History of Art.

The 12 Star Gallery is open from 10am-6pm, Monday to Friday and is located at 32 Smith Square, London SW1P 3EU. The exhibition runs until 31 October and will then move to the German Historical Institute London, where it can be visited between the 5th November and 5th December at 17 Bloomsbury Square, London WC1A 2NJ. The German Historical Institute is open Monday to Friday from 9.30am – 5pm and Thursdays from 9.30am – 8pm.

More details are available here:

Image of Joy Martindale

School of Arts hosts ‘Lilacs in Bloom’ artwork

The School of Arts is currently hosting an artwork installation as part of the Platforma 5 festival, currently running across the Kent and Medway region.

The biennial Platforma festival for the arts by, with, and about refugees and migration is produced by Counterpoints Arts. It brings together artists, organisations, funders and others for discussions, workshops and the chance to share practice and showcase new work.

The piece, entitled ‘Lilacs in Bloom’ by artist Joy C Martindale, is a participatory artwork made in collaboration with survivors of modern-day slavery and human trafficking. The participants of the project were a gentleman from Lithuania and a mother from West Africa and her three young children. Working with paint and scraps of colourful cloth collected by Joy along the tidelines of the coast in Southeast Kent, the artist and the participants explored creativity as a means of being free in the moment to choose how to express thoughts, feelings, and ideas.

You can read more about the process of putting together the artwork here.

The artwork is currently on display in the Jarman foyer, until 25 October 2019.

Fitness Instructors attend massive Fitness Fiesta

Kent Sport prides itself on the knowledge of its staff in and out of the Fitness Suite. In order to keep up on trends, open itself to new ideas and provide first-rate classes, Kent Sport Fitness Instructors attend various fitness events throughout the year.

For the 10th year running, Jeni Dexter-Mullane, Emma Cooke and Liz Coult attended the Fitness Fiesta in Camber Sands at the beginning of October. It’s a gruelling schedule with up to six hours a day of back-to-back classes. Classes included everything from Yoga to Spinning to Dancing to even Nordic Walking (perhaps not one that you’ll see one of our timetables soon). Each instructor did more than 36,000 steps a day!

The team attend these events to upskill themselves, learning tricks of the trade and insider secrets to make their classes the best they can offer.

Why not have a go at one of the many fitness and dance classes available at Kent Sport and experience how fun they are for yourself?! Visit for class information or pick up a copy of Active Kent in the Sport Centre or Pavilion receptions.

The crew expect to check out the next event in the upcoming months of November 2019 and March 2020. To learn more about the event, visit

Not a member yet? We have new membership options to suit your fitness journey. For Kent Sport news, events and special offers, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter @UniKentSports.

To stay up to date with Kent Sport news, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter UniKentSports. If you have any questions you can email

People in a seminar room in discussion

Seminar on Exploring students’ experiences of race through interdisciplinary collaboration in higher education

Colleagues are invited to attend the CSHE Seminar on Thursday 24 October,13.00-14.00, in Grimond Seminar Room 1. The seminar titled ‘Exploring students’ experiences of race through interdisciplinary collaboration in higher education’ is presented by Dr Sonya Sharma, Kingston University London.

In this seminar Dr Sonya Sharma will address an interdisciplinary and collaborative four-year project, Taking Race Live, that explored lived experiences of race among second-year students. Utilizing qualitative methods to evaluate the project each year, she draws on students’ voices to address their experiences of race, partnering with interdisciplinary peers, and learning about each other. Attention is given to how this was done through engaging with the arts and embodied practices found within drama, dance and music.

To register to attend please complete the online booking form.

Four yellow smiley faces

Smiling, Status Quo and dyslexia; Nostalgia Podcast with Martin Bloomfield

In the latest episode of the Nostalgia podcast series, Chris Deacy, Head of the Department of Religious Studies, interviews Martin Bloomfield, who is currently studying towards a PhD in Philosophy at the University of York.

Martin explains why Lampeter was a ‘collection of caricatures’, and we also find out about the range of schools he attended when he was young. The pair talk about how Martin (and his native York) have changed over the years, studying in Lampeter, seeing Bad Manners at Gassy Jacks in Cardiff, the karate and fencing societies he was involved with, why going to university helped him to discover who he was, how he did (and did not) stand for Parliament in 1992, being a floating voter, the days when ‘Top of the Pops’ was the gold standard, the time when Radio 1 didn’t play Status Quo, why Martin chooses the sweet over the bitter, being tested quite late for dyslexia, how happiness is not just about smiling, what advice he would give his 15 year old self, and why Martin has a synchronic view of time.

Photo of Prof Lydia Hayes

Kent research supports All-Party Inquiry into care sector workforce

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Care has acknowledged “a great debt of gratitude” to a team led by Kent Law School Professor Lydia Hayes for providing “expansive, thorough and vigorous” research in support of their All-Party Inquiry into the care sector workforce.

Professor Hayes explained: ‘We investigated how care workers could be better supported to develop as career professionals and why this was necessary. We analysed care standards regulation in each of the UK’s four nations and identified the complex skills that care workers need.’

With financial support from the GMB Union, Professor Hayes collaborated with Dr Eleanor Johnson and Alison Tarrant to produce the report ‘Professionalisation At Work in Adult Social Care’.  It provides a picture of professionalisation in adult social care across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and is cited frequently in the APPG Inquiry Report entitled ‘Elevation, Registration & Standardisation: The Professionalisation of Social Care Workers’.  To support the Inquiry, the research team considered policy initiatives, current skill and knowledge requirements, workforce registration, induction, training and the legal regulation of workforce standards.

In an introduction to the Inquiry Report, Louise Haigh MP and Gillian Keegan MP said: ‘We owe a great debt of gratitude to Dr Hayes, Dr Johnson and Alison Tarrant for their expansive, thorough and vigorous report to us, which has proved to be a great help in increasing our understanding of how this sector presently functions, and the challenges that it faces.’

As a result of their research, Professor Hayes’s team found that training issues, workers’ occupational registration, regulatory concern for service-user safety, terms and conditions of work, and sector funding are intricately connected.

Professor Hayes is Principal Investigator for a Wellcome Trust project on The Legal and Social Life of Care Standards Regulation in England, Scotland and Wales.

People in a seminar room in discussion

Seminar on researching White students’ racial ignorance

Colleagues are invited to attend the CSHE Seminar on Thursday 17 October,16.00-17.00, in Kennedy Seminar Room 10. The seminar titled ‘Why and how we need to research White students’ racial ignorance’ will be presented virtually by Dr Nolan Cabrera, Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Arizona.

In this presentation, Dr Cabrera will outline his concept of White immunity, link it to structured White ignorance, and then explore what this means in terms of the educational experiences of Students of Colour.

To register to attend please complete the online booking form.