Abigail Spanner is in her second year studying Classical & Archaeological Studies and Comparative Literature.
What attracted you to Classical & Archaeological Studies?
I did Classical Civilisations at A level and it became my favourite subject. I wasn’t sure what career I had in mind and I wanted to do something I really enjoyed but without narrowing my options too much. Classical & Archaeological Studies seemed like a good way of having a nice variety.
And why did you choose Kent?
I live locally and when I was younger I’d been to events hosted by the university, so already I really liked the atmosphere at the campus. I love Canterbury as well, and the more I got to know the subject area, the more I thought Canterbury would be a great place to study because of its history. I looked online and saw that the university does well in the league tables. On the open day and applicant days the teachers were really lovely and so I just really fell in love, not only with the campus, but with the nice atmosphere at the university. Everyone was just so welcoming.
How is your course going?
When I start talking about it with my family, they just say ‘OK, just calm down!’ I love it so much! It is a big step up between Year 1 and Year 2 but because by then you know people and can find your way around campus, you can just concentrate on tackling the work. I especially like getting an insight into the everyday life of people at the time – even things like their humour. With archaeology you find the physical objects that bring people to life. I did some work with Folkestone Archaeological Trust over the summer and we found a quern stone that was cracked. I could really imagine how they must have worked so hard on it until it was almost ready to use, and then it cracked and they had to throw it away and start again!
What are your favourite modules?
Probably Latin – I like the language, the sound of it, the way that it works – although sometimes I’ll compare it with Greek and think ‘Greek does this better’. I love Greek too. When you’re translating there’s a lot you have to work out for yourself – you can’t just literally translate it, you have to understand the context. For instance, we’re doing a lawsuit at the moment and I have no idea what Athenian laws were like so I’ve had to do some research on that. I’m getting so much out of it, both learning history and being able to work things out for myself.
What do you think of the support available?
I think the academic support and well being support are really good. I had an academic peer mentor last year, and my academic adviser was really helpful, too.
The Student Learning Advisory Service can help you with academic writing and essay planning.
What social activities are you involved in?
I’m the treasurer of the Kent Classics & Archaeology Society. It’s useful to have inside knowledge of the society and how it works. Last year I went to a few art classes – drawing cartoons was fun, and it was nice to have that as a stress relief because it’s something completely different from my studies. I also play badminton occasionally, and I’m a student ambassador too.
What are your plans for after graduation?
At the moment I’m trying to see where my strengths are. In my third year, I’m hoping to do a teaching module because I’m considering teaching classics. I think that module will help me to see if teaching is for me. Even if I don’t go down the teaching route it’s still a really useful module to do: being able to speak in front of people in a classroom, that’s really helpful.
Any advice for future students?
Come to Kent! And definitely do the suggested reading before you come – I didn’t and I wish I had, because there’s a lot of reading. You don’t have to buy the books – get an ebook or borrow from a library but do familiarise yourself with what you’ll be studying.