I’d done my research and Kent has good rankings for academic success and employment. The location is also great – I’m from London and it’s not too near but not too far either. So I came to an Open Day and found both the students and the staff very helpful and informative. I also loved the campus – it’s beautiful. With some universities you find buildings scattered all around a city but here everything is really convenient.
It’s been great – I don’t want it to end! I had done Law at A level but didn’t particularly want to study it at degree level; I enjoy television documentaries on criminology and thought the subject was more engaging. I really enjoyed the core modules in the second year, especially Criminal Justice in Modern Britain. We studied contemporary problems, crime prevention, and observed a case in court. Then we had to write a report on the case and I liked this because it made a change from writing as essay, as it involved reflective rather than critical thinking. And it was fascinating to see the court in action.
You can tell by the way they deliver their lectures that all the staff are passionate about their subjects. They never just read information off slides; instead they weave in modern-day examples that help you understand things better; it emphasises the relevance and really brings the subject alive. Then the seminar leaders are helpful too, leading discussions which often involve recent news items, giving reading suggestions and so on. If you have any queries or need help with something, everyone responds to emails quickly.
I’ve made great friends with others on my course, and we support each other with our studies – emailing back and forth when we get stuck on something, for instance. Then we socialise together too, so that’s lovely.
Eventually I’d like to work in the Ministry of Justice system, as a police investigator or a solicitor’s assistant. But at the moment I’m applying for graduate schemes and hope to get a job in the City of London. I’ve worked part-time in the University’s careers advisory service, and was recently invited to join the Work-Study Scheme which helps you find jobs on campus; so I’m working in the Jobshop as a student research experience assistant – which means I’m phoning graduates to find out where they’re working, to help compile the University’s employability statistics. This means I’m getting admin experience, improving my communication and organisation skills; I think all these things help you look more attractive to employers.
I lived in Park Wood in my first year and liked the communal feel. Sharing a house is a great way of breaking the ice and meeting people. The facilities were good too and the cleaning is run very well – everything is kept in good condition. It would have been great to have washing machines there, but the launderette wasn’t too far away. I also liked that living there you were still on campus but not right in the middle of things; and it was a nice walk in to lectures and so on.
I’m often in the library and the library café, and it’s very student-friendly. It does sometimes get busy but it’s very convenient to study there – and you need that serious atmosphere sometimes to help you settle down to work. The sports hall is great – I played badminton several times a week in my first year; and the Venue, the bar and nightclub, is very good – you feel safe there. There are always shows on at the Gulbenkian – although I don’t seem to have time to catch them!
Make the most of it – it goes so fast. Join societies, and have a great social life, but don’t lose focus on your degree. Also look out for part-time jobs and other extra-curricular activities that make you stand out from the crowd when you’re applying for jobs.