Category Archives: Finalists

Life as an alum

Just because you’ve finished your studies, you don’t leave Kent behind. There are lots of ways to play your part in the Kent community. You are one of over 183,000 Kent alumni worldwide – so why not make the most of the fantastic opportunities that being part of this network provides?

Most importantly, make sure that you don’t miss out on any opportunities by ensuring that we have got your correct contact details. By giving us your up-to-date details when you register for your graduation – and keeping them updated – we will be able to send you information about upcoming events, share the latest alumni news, and make sure you don’t miss a thing. We’re only ever an email away – get in touch via if you think we can help. And follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.

As you take your first steps into a new career, Kent is here to provide you with help and support to guide you along your chosen path. You can use the Careers and Employability Services for three years after graduating.

Every year we host a wide range of events, from campus-based lectures and reunions across Europe to formal and informal alumni events and get-togethers around the world, including online events which we’ve introduced recently. In the last 12 months alone, we’ve hosted alumni activities in Malaysia, the United States, France, Belgium, Italy, Canada, Greece, India and China, as well as in Canterbury, Medway and London.

We have alumni groups and chapters all over the world, with formal associations in North America, Asia, Europe and Africa. Find out if there is a group near you on our website – where you’ll also find links to social media groups associated with them. If there isn’t a group near you and you’d like to start one, get in touch, and we’ll help you find alumni in your area!

We hope you have enjoyed your time at Kent and that your university experience opens up new opportunities for your future. Please keep in touch!

And if you plan to return to study, come back to Kent and receive a 10% discount on tuition fees for the first year of a full-time course.

Tim Farrow-House
Acting Director of Development

overhead view of students sat at sofas studying

Why I chose further study at Kent

After doing my undergraduate degree in History at Kent, I went straight into an MA beginning in September 2015. I would love to say I had a burning ambition to go further into academia, but I wasn’t sure of anything. In fact, I chose to do an MA mostly because of that – having no clue what came next! 

I had no real idea of my dream job, I felt I wasn’t done yet and I panicked quite a bit. A year of further study seemed like the solution. Modules were running that seemed better tailored to my interests than my undergraduate ones. I could keep learning and it served as a procrastination to entering the real world. My family joked I wanted to be a student forever, and it actually came true.  

I’m not ashamed of those being my reasons for carrying on to PhD study. It brought me to my PhD which I’m almost finished with and it’s given me a dream. 

There were many reasons why I chose to stay at Kent for my MA. Canterbury was a city that felt like home and I wanted to stay living here. In terms of the staff, I had developed good relationships with them and received a great quality of teaching and dissertation supervision. I had an idea of my research interests, but I wanted to find out more – I didn’t quite feel like a historian yet.  

If I had to give advice to a UG student considering PG life, I’d say go for it! I justified it to myself as most people have a degree these days; a PG one is a way to stand out. But when you’re doing your Masters, make sure you get involved in PG specific events and things that are going on in your school. Know what career you’d like to get to at the end, and consider employability and work experience to enhance your CV with that goal in mind. You’re only here for a year for a Masters, so it all seems like a lot, but know your limits and ensure self-care is on your radar. And most of all, enjoy it. 

–Ellis Spicer, Research Postgraduate, School of History 

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

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