Category Archives: Returners

Making the most of opportunities – extra-curricular activities

When you start university there is a lot to get to grips with starting a new course, but the key to a great student experience is striking a balance between study and play. Time away from your books also helps to maintain a healthy life balance and can really benefit your studies.

Remember to check your emails and the Student News regularly for opportunities and events.  We’ve also put together a list of extra-curricular opportunities worth considering below.

Want to learn a language alongside your studies? 

  • The Language Centre offers Kent students the opportunity to study a variety of language modules as part of your existing degree programme or as an additional extracurricular module.
  • Language Express offer evening courses from beginner’s level.

Have you thought about volunteering?

Volunteering can be a good way to gain experience, build skills and network.  Find more about volunteer opportunities while at Kent.

Student Activities

At Kent, there are numerous student activities including sport, societies and more!

Student Societies
Societies bring people together with common interests and can help you make new friends with people you might not meet on your course. And don’t forget, a CV packed full of experiences and activities shows potential employers that you like to get involved. See the wide range of clubs and societies at Kent:

Get Active with Kent Sport
Whether you play competitively or just for fun, sport is an important part of the student experience. Accessible facilities, inter-college sports programme and over 50 sports clubs run by Kent Union. Find out more about sport at Kent.

Make Music at Kent
Do you sing or play an instrument? Join the Chorus, Symphony Orchestra, Concert and Big Bands, Chamber Choir or one of the many other bands and ensembles formed each year. Find out more about making music at Kent.

Get Creative on Campus
As well as numerous creative societies, Kent offers exceptional opportunities for you to enjoy the very latest in film, art, music, history and architecture.

A student walks amongst the stacks in the library

Starting your research

One of the purposes of assignments is to show that you can increase your knowledge through independent reading and research. To identify and seek out information you will need to:

  • Be clear on what you are looking for

– Make sure you understand your essay question, or task, and what you need to investigate.

– Note down key words from your essay question or task and relevant lecture notes to use in your search for information.

  • To find the information you need

– Always start with reading lists provided by your course; these can then lead you onto other texts.

– Examine core textbooks, scanning contents pages, index pages, introductions and sub-headings for key words indicating sections of text relevant to your assignment or task.

– Look through the bibliographies (of your textbooks) for other relevant book titles.

– Undertake a key word search of library databases or the internet. Visit the library webpages to find out how to use the university library services and facilities You might also try searching for academic information on Google Scholar.

  • Consider the most authoritative voices in your subject

– Identify and use well-respected sources in your work e.g. industry experts or organisations, professional journals, recommended textbooks.

– You will need to justify your choice of reading material.

  • Always take notes and keep a record of the sources of your notes

Having located, bookmarked and borrowed (from the library) a range of useful sources, you are now ready to extract the information you need in a process of effective reading and note-taking.

Resources
For guidance on all the topics mentioned above – including Understanding the question, Effective reading and Note-taking – the Student Learning Advisory Service (SLAS) provides 1-1 appointments, workshops and study guides.

Students sat on lawn

Staying well at uni

Studying at university is a big change for most people, and you can help yourself to enjoy it to the full by remembering to take care of your mental and physical health.

 

  • Build a support network

We all need supportive friends and family to talk to share the difficult moments as well as the good times. It’s a good idea to invest some time in maintaining your existing networks by making video calls or real-life dates, as well as making an effort to meet new people at university, whether you are a commuting student or living away from home.

See what’s on via the Welcome events calendar, check out events hosted by your academic division, or take a look at the Student Support and Wellbeing events calendar for weekly peer groups and workshops.

 

  • Coping with change

Transitions are hard – although it can be exciting to move to a new area or start a new course, it can be unsettling to find yourself building up routines and networks from scratch.

Remember that it can take time to adjust to your new situation and feelings of homesickness or loneliness will likely ease. If you can share how you’re doing with others around you, you’re likely to find many people are experiencing similar feelings, and together you can create a community to look out for one another. You will be studying alongside a diverse community with many different interests and backgrounds, so it can be a great opportunity to explore new hobbies and find your tribe.

Why not join a society at Canterbury or Medway or check out the College and Community Life information to see how you might throw yourself into the groups where you’re living and studying?

 

  • Don’t forget your physical health

Whether you are looking to get fitter, or just want to get moving, Kent Sport has lots of classes on campus as well as guidance from exercising from wherever you are.

The Canterbury campus has a lot of green spaces and woodland trails to explore on foot or by bike, and if you want to find a new friend to walk with, you could sign up to ‘Walking Buddies’ via the Student Support and Wellbeing Events Calendar.

It’s a good idea to register with a GP (general practitioner, or medical doctor) in your area, so you can access physical health care and advice when you need to.

 

  • Feeling stressed?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, here are some things you might explore to help regain balance:

  1. Talk it through – we have a team of expert mental health professionals available free of charge throughout your time at Kent
  2. There is an active Mindfulness Society at Kent – check out their resources or try one of their weekly meetings
  3. Need some help with academic work? The Student Learning Advisory Service, or SLAS, organise lots of workshops to upskill you in many areas of academic work such as referencing, taking effective notes, and organisation and time management.

 

Student Support & Wellbeing provide free expert support to help all students make the most of their time at Kent, follow @UniKentSSW on social media for the latest information and resources to help you stay well and connected.

Wing of aeroplane in the sky

Supporting you with coming back from overseas

From Professor Richard Reece | Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience

I hope you are well and have been enjoying the summer break. As we get closer to September, we are focusing more and more on our plans for next year and what we can do to ensure everyone gets the best possible experience with us as we re-open our campuses. With that in mind, I am pleased to confirm that the University has agreed to cover the costs of a managed quarantine hotel stay for all Undergraduate and Postgraduate students arriving from a red list country, whether you are starting with us this year or are returning to continue your studies. 

At present, under UK government restrictions, those of you who are based in a red list country will need to quarantine for a period upon arrival in the UK. If this affects you and you are required to pay to stay in a managed quarantine hotel, we will put a credit in your account equating to the amount of the stay fee (currently set at £2,285) upon receipt of proof of expenditure. Full details of how to arrange this will be available on our International Welcome pages shortly. 

We are looking forward to seeing as many as possible of you back on campus and I hope this goes some way to making that easier for those returning from overseas. Do contact us via covidsupport@kent.ac.uk if you have any questions about this – do also join us at our WebChat this Thursday (19th)* if you can, where I will go through our plans in more detail. 

With all best wishes, 

Richard

Professor Richard Reece | Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience

*Find more Student Webchats and how to catch up on ones you may have wished online here.

 

person stretching leg

Staying active at uni

Exercise and staying active are important for both your physical and mental health. Here are our top tips for staying active at university:

 

 Join a sports club

Team Kent run more than 60 different clubs, with sports ranging from American Football to Ultimate Frisbee. The sports are represented at a range of levels, from recreational to competitive, so there is something for everyone!

View the full list of sports clubs

 

  • Get outdoors

There are lots of green spaces in Kent, so why not take advantage of them? Going for a jog or a walk outside is great for clearing your head after a long day of studying.

If you want to start running, parkrun is a weekly free timed 5km run, jog or walk every Saturday in parks and open spaces. The Canterbury parkrun starts at the Sports Pavilion on Parkwood Road, and the Medway parkrun takes place at Great Lines Heritage Park (Gillingham).

 

  • Join Kent Sport

Kent Sport has an extensive range of facilities, including a fitness suite, fitness and dance studio, sports halls, cricket nets, 3G football pitch, a brand new Indoor Tennis and Events Arena and many more. Members are able to choose from a large variety of fitness classes, such as Zumba, yoga and spinning.

Free Kent Sport Premium Plus membership is offered to:

 

  • Exercise with a friend

It can be daunting to exercise alone in a gym, or to join a sports club by yourself. Exercising with a friend will mean you’re less likely to get bored, and you can motivate each other by planning new and exciting workouts! On those days when you don’t feel like working out, having someone to keep you accountable will mean you’re more likely to stick to your exercise goals.

 

  • Cycle or walk to uni

Instead of taking the bus or driving, take advantage of the many cycle and footpaths around our campuses. Including exercise as part of your commute is a great way of staying active without attending a gym or an exercise class – and it’s good for the environment!

Find out more about walking and cycling at Kent

Drill Hall library

Support at Medway

This blog outlines the support on offer and how to get in contact.

First points of contact

The Colleges that make up the Canterbury and Medway campuses are made up of the friendly Colleges and Community Life Team, who are a first point of contact for any kind of assistance, advice and support. All Medway students are affiliated with Medway College.

You can also get in touch with your School if you have a query. Your School should be able to help you or point you in the right direction for further support.

Support with your studies

Our Student Learning and Advisory Service (SLAS) can help you with everything from perfecting your essay writing to learning how to reference properly.

Don’t forget your School is also there to help you with your studies and offer a range of study support.

Have you checked in with Student Support and Wellbeing?

If you have a disability, chronic condition, mental health condition, specific learning difficulty or autism, please contact Student Support and Wellbeing to see how they can help you make the most of your university journey.

We have a team of expert staff who can help you face the challenges of studying, socialising and living independently, whatever else you might be going through, whether it’s something you’re experiencing for the first time at University or have dealt with for a while.

There is also a free confidential counselling service which offers you a safe space to address issues concerning you and can help get thoughts, feelings, behaviour and perspective on life back in balance again.

Students’ Union

From money worries to housing issues, academic problems to visa support, your students’ union’s Student Advice Service is available to help through their free, impartial and confidential advice service.

Medical advice

You should register with a local doctor near to your accommodation in order to receive treatment under the National Health Service (NHS): Find your nearest NHS Surgery.

students sitting at table

Support at Canterbury

This blog outlines the support on offer and how to get in contact.

First points of contact

The Colleges that make up the Canterbury and Medway campuses are made up of the friendly Colleges and Community Life Team, who are a first point of contact for any kind of assistance, advice and support.

You can also get in touch with your School if you have a query. Your School should be able to help you or point you in the right direction for further support.

Support with your studies

Our Student Learning and Advisory Service (SLAS) can help you with everything from perfecting your essay writing to learning how to reference properly.

Don’t forget your School is also there to help you with your studies and offer a range of study support.

Have you checked in with Student Support and Wellbeing?

If you have a disability, chronic condition, mental health condition, specific learning difficulty or autism, please contact Student Support and Wellbeing to see how they can help you make the most of your university journey.

We have a team of expert staff who can help you face the challenges of studying, socialising and living independently, whatever else you might be going through, whether it’s something you’re experiencing for the first time at university or something you have dealt with for a while.

There is also a free confidential counselling service which offers you a safe space to address issues concerning you and can help get thoughts, feelings, behaviour and perspective on life back in balance again.

Kent Union

Kent Union are your Students’ Union at Canterbury. From money worries to housing issues, academic problems to visa support, Kent Union’s Student Advice Centre is available to help through their free, impartial and confidential advice service.

You can also get in touch with your Kent Union full-time officers who are each responsible for specific areas within the Union.

Medical advice

Kent has its own NHS general practice on campus called the University Medical Centre. There’s also an independent pharmacy next door, so you don’t have to go far when you’re feeling under the weather.

Our University Nursing Service is available 24/7 during term-time.

Girl wearing a black and white stripey jumper smiles at camera while studying, book open in front of her

Learning at Uni – how is it different from school?

At university you will have to: take personal responsibility for your time and your studies; think for yourself, questioning, evaluating and drawing conclusions about what you hear, see, read and do; and reflect on your experiences, making changes accordingly to improve your performance. To do all this involves the following:

Independent learning

This means being pro-active and taking personal responsibility for:

  • Understanding how your course works

Carefully study the information provided to you. Keep a checklist of things you still need to know and find them out from your tutors or appropriate university services.

  • Seeking help when you need it

Create your own contact list for your tutors and university support services. This list should include:

– Find or establish a quiet, comfortable workspace in which to study.

– Make sure you have the files (physical and/or digital) that you’ll need to organise all your course and assignment information.

– Set up the IT you’ll need and familiarise yourself with the university’s online learning systems.

– Use a diary, termly or year planner to plan your studies around your other activities. Find termly and weekly time planners under Time Management on the SLAS website.

– Create and build your own glossary of subject terms and definitions.

– Arrive on time, prepared, notes to hand, and having read any background material requested.

– Listen carefully throughout, taking notes of key points, theories and ideas.

– Be prepared to take part in discussions, if requested.

Critical thinking

Critical thinking means:

  • Questioning what you hear, see, read and did (e.g. a method you used) and assessing how convincing, or efficient, or valuable, or useful it is.
  • Going beyond pure description, so that:

– As well as giving facts or data, you say what they show and challenge the methods by which they were gathered – e.g. ‘The survey does not take full account of…’

– As well as describing a theory or process, you discuss its strengths and weaknesses, advantages and disadvantages – e.g. ‘This method has several benefits…’

– As well as summarising a piece of text, you say what it shows, identify the key points it makes, and explore its accuracy – e.g. ‘The main weakness of the author’s argument is…’

  • Reflecting on your own learning to create a cycle of improvement

– Read and consider assignment feedback to identify areas for improvement, then take action to improve your performance next time, including seeking help if you need it.

– Keep a learning journal in which you consider a specific learning experience (e.g. a deadline missed), reflect on how and why it happened, and plan how to avoid similar problems in future

– Reflect on what went well, as well as what didn’t. This will help you repeat good performances.

Resources
For guidance on all the topics mentioned above – including Lectures and seminars, Critical and reflective thinking and Time management – the Student Learning Advisory Service (SLAS) provides 1-1 appointments, workshops and study guides.

journal with September calendar written out and highlighted in yellow

Managing your studies

Good organisation is key to staying on top of your studies. You will need to plan your time and your assignments, maintain a good filing system for all your study materials, and ensure that you keep pace with your course.

Plan your time

– Plot and organise your studies (lectures, seminars, reading and assignments) around all your other activities (work, social, holidays etc) throughout the year. Try colour coding different activities on your planner to help keep track of them. Allow time for breaks, exercise, and social activities to maintain a healthy work/life balance

– Start each assignment as early as possible. Working back from the deadline, consider the stages of work needed to complete each one and plot them on your time planner. Complete each stage of work on time to avoid last minute panics and meet your deadlines

  • Set achievable goals and prioritise tasks

– Divide individual days into bitesize chunks of time and allocate an achievable task to each session e.g. 9-11am – Read/make notes on Journal article x; 11-12am – Draw up essay plan for assignment y; 12-1pm – Proof-read report z… etc. This will keep you focussed and productive, and ensure constant progress

– Consider which tasks are both important and urgent – e.g. Proof-read and submit assignment x – and prioritise these on your daily schedule

Find termly and weekly time planners under Time Management on the SLAS website.

Set up a filing system

  • Group, organise and store information and work

– Think about where and how you will group, organise and store course information, handouts, research and your notes so you can find them easily e.g. ‘Module X: Topic A/B/C/D’ or ‘Assignment Y: Research/Notes/Drafts’

– Number assignment drafts (essays, project reports etc) to keep track of the most recent version

– Use ring binders with labelled dividers, computer folders/files or a mixture both to stay organised and save time.

  • Back-up work regularly on your computer to avoid any risk of losing it

Keep on top of your work

  • Be pro-active

– If you find yourself falling behind with your studies don’t ignore it. Reflect on the reasons, consider solutions and take action – action can even be seeking advice if you are struggling or not sure of what you are doing

  • Seek help if you need it

– Ask your lecturer or seek advice from relevant university services which may include:

Resources
For guidance on all the topics mentioned above – including Getting organised and Time management – the Student Learning Advisory Service (SLAS) provides 1-1 appointments, workshops and study guides.

Students sat together drinking tea at the Dockyard

Things to try this year

Here’s a list* of things to try at Kent that you might have missed last year due to the pandemic:

Welcome Week – Welcome Week isn’t just for first years. Get involved in all the events, make new friends and maybe join a society!

Watch a film or theatre performance at Gulbenkian – We’re lucky enough to have a cinema and theatre on the Canterbury campus at Gulbenkian. Look out for their student offers. And if you’re really enthusiastic about film, you can join Gulbenkian Uncovered, which gives students the chance to get behind the scenes, develop new skills and run events.

Join a society – Get involved in a new society this year. Meet new people with similar interests to you. Whatever your year of study, it’s not too late to join. Check out all the societies and groups at Kent Union (Canterbury) and GKSU (Medway).

Try new food and drink – Perhaps you didn’t get to try out many of the eateries and bars on campus last year? Take a look at the catering and bars at Canterbury and Medway and try somewhere new.

Sign up for a Study Plus course – Meet new people, develop your skills and enhance your graduate employability by taking a free Study Plus course. There’s a variety of courses on offer with new ones added throughout the academic year.

Have a night out at The Venue Venue is back!  Get your friends together for a campus night out.

Try out a fitness class or indoor tennis – As well a state-of-the-art gym, we have a wide range of fitness and dance classes for you to try at the Canterbury campus. You can also try out the Indoor Tennis and Events Arena which was opened last year. There’s plenty of ways to keep fit this year with Kent Sport.

Visit Chatham Historic Dockyard – At Medway, we have part of our campus at the Historic Dockyard. Did you know that the Dockyard is also a filming location for shows such as Call the Midwife and Bridgerton? Kent students get free access to the Historic Dockyard by showing a KentOne card.

VolunteerVolunteering is great way to meet new people while helping your local community and building your CV.

Explore another campus– Jump on the Campus Shuttle and spend a few hours at a campus you might be less familiar with. The shuttle is free so why not take advantage? From there, you can also explore the local area.

We really want you to make the most of our amazing campuses this year! Share your adventures with us on socials by using the hashtag #WelcomeToOurWorld and tagging us in your photos.

*Make sure to keep up to date with the latest Government Guidance in case anything changes.