Maxine Meixner is in her second year studying English and American Literature and Creative Writing.
Why did you choose to study this course at Kent?
Lots of reasons! The modules are so, so varied and, in the second and third years especially, you can really tailor them to what you want to do. You can also decide whether you want to focus more on creative writing or on the more academic side of literature. And then I loved Kent because the campus is so green and wonderful. There are so many places to go - I went to the beach at Herne Bay after a lecture the other day, and it's easy to go to London for theatre trips.
How do you think the course has developed you?
What's crucial for me is that I'm feeling pushed without feeling like I'm pushed to the edge. I'm learning a lot and I'm really quite challenged; I have to think critically and do a lot of research. In seminars, students lead the conversation and that really helps people to not feel afraid to voice their opinions. Hearing and discussing different points of view has deepened my understanding.
What do you think of the academic support?
I emailed a very simple question to a guest lecturer who came in for my Shakespeare module and I got a massive reply back with so many books to go off and read. I found that so useful, because they were avenues I didn't think of looking down. And my seminar leader for my fiction workshop is helping me work one of my pieces into a novel - she thinks the ideas I've got can be lengthened out. It's quite scary to think about writing a novel, but really exciting.
And what are your fellow students like?
It's nice to be with students who all do the same thing as you, which means they all love it. And they all love different parts of the subject. So last year, for instance, when we were doing romanticism, some students hated an author and others loved him, and that really informed the seminars.
What do you think of the facilities?
I absolutely love the library. I live there. I'm meeting up with friends there later today to talk about an essay and brainstorm - there are social spaces where you can do that. But there are silent areas too, so when deadlines are coming up you can shut yourself away. I go to the sports centre too - that's good to help balance mental health and physical wellbeing. There are great classes there.
What about outside lectures? How do you spend your time?
I'm a keen member of T24, the drama society. There are weekly writing workshops, which are useful for a creative writer, looking more at screenplay. I'm appearing in a show later today and, for next term, I'm co-writing an adaptation of Frankenstein, to be performed at the Marlowe Studio in Canterbury. Over last summer, I did the Canterbury Shakespeare Festival and played Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream. I do lots of things connected to my course, too. Next February I'm going on a trip to New York - I never thought I'd be able to go to New York, but the School subsidises it and we pay in instalments. I can't wait!
What are your plans for after graduation?
I'm thinking about doing a Master's - ideally a combination of the academic and something more creative. I'd want to do it here at Kent because I've established a whole little world here.
Any advice for a prospective student?
I would say don't be afraid to ask questions, don't be afraid to share ideas because you never know what might come out of it. Everyone feels scared when they first come to university, but take the plunge and see if it's for you. English at Kent is great. I'm learning so much, not only about my subject, but about myself.