Barbara Blackwell

Criminal Justice and Criminology BA

I’ve learnt how to be more confident when I’m doing a presentation and the essay deadlines mean you also have to learn time-management skills.

What attracted you to studying at Kent?

I always wanted to study something related to crime looked at quite a few different options but when I came to a Kent Open Day, I just fell in love with the course. I liked the fact that, especially in your second and third years at Kent, you have the chance to delve into the areas that you enjoy the most.

How did you find the move into university studies?

I found that I got the hang of it quite quickly. The lecturers explained the difference between A level and degree work and the materials were nicely written, which helped to bridge the gap.

How are your studies going?

At degree level, you do a lot more research on your own. I like that because it gives me the chance to bring in other areas that I’m interested in. To be honest, it often feels like you’re not doing any work, because you’re enjoying what you’re doing. 

You also get the chance to link the most practical elements to the theory. The course has so many different aspects to it; areas I didn’t even know existed. For instance, in one module, I was able to look at how the media presents crime today.

How would you describe the other students at Kent?

In the first year everyone is settling in. It’s really good because the group work gives you the chance to get to know the other students really well. In the seminars, everyone values what you say, even if they don't completely agree. I have a good group of friends now and we meet up in the evenings and revise together.

Which parts of your course do you enjoy the most?

That’s a tough question - I love it all! I think if I had to choose one module, it would be Crime and Punishment, 1750 – 1900. I’ve always been obsessed by history and we looked at the punishments such as prisons, deportation and the death penalty,. There was a time when the body was punished or the person was shamed in public. It helps you to see how society has changed.

What kind of general skills are you developing?

This course has changed the way I think. You open up to new ideas. So when I watch the news, I think about the situation differently now. The presentations and essays help you to develop communication skills. Employers want people who can understand what they’re doing and explain it in a very clear way. I’ve learnt how to be more confident when I’m doing a presentation and the essay deadlines mean you also have to learn time-management skills.

How would you describe the facilities on campus?

The campus is rich in history. Many of our buildings date back to when they were used by the Navy – there’s a beam inside the Drill Hall Library that was damaged by a bomb! But, apart from that, the interior is very modern and the library facilities are brilliant. If a book that you want that isn’t there, they will get it in for you. The social facilities are good too. The Student Hub brings in DJs and has good music. It’s a nice open space.

What about practical experience?

I’m doing the Criminal Justice Practice module where you have to go out into the field and volunteer for at least 100 hours. I’m volunteering for Kent Police, working within the Neighbourhood Watch office. I keep track of local crimes and alert communities of crimes in their area.

Any career plans?

The good thing about this course is that you can go into all kinds of areas. The police gave me training for my volunteer post so I’m hoping to get a job with them. If not, criminal psychology has always sounded interesting to me and I’m also tempted by the idea of doing research and becoming a lecturer.

Any advice for students thinking of coming to Kent?

At university you experience a lot of things for the first time; it’s so much fun. So stay open minded and enjoy it