I am from Medway and had been to Kent with my school on a number of occasions so it was very familiar. I came to an Open Day and just felt that this was the place for me.
I have always loved history and wanted to study it at university, but at the time I wanted to be a police officer so I was planning to do Criminology and Law. I wasn’t excited about it because my real passion was history; it was only when I decided to switch to History that I really began to look forward to my studies.
It’s a very broad course and you can choose most of your modules, so you can focus on your areas of interest. In your first year, you discover the type of history you enjoy and which areas you do best in. My preference is for modern history; I have particularly enjoyed studying War and Modern Medicine (which has led to my dissertation) and the First and Second World Wars.
There is a good mix of students. You do a lot of presentations and your groups are often chosen for you, which means that you get to know a lot of people. In seminars there are around 15 students, enough for a good discussion. It is good to hear other people’s ideas and understand how they arrived at their particular view – even when you don’t agree.
The broad subject area is medicine in the First World War. I have begun my research and discovered that there are many views as to why improvements in medical practice occurred at this time: some argue that the medical profession’s need to treat so many injured soldiers led to innovative practice, while others argue that advances had begun before the war and would have continued. I am also interested in society’s attitudes towards those who were given prosthetic limbs and the care of ex-servicemen after war.
They are very helpful; you can go and see them during their office hours or email them and they always get back to you. I always go to see the lecturer before writing an essay.
The academic facilities are very good and there are lots of study hubs, not just in the library. I really enjoy being part of the History Society; we put on events so it is a good way to meet people, but you also learn useful organisational skills.
In terms of going out, there are lots of places to go on campus. Generally, there is something on somewhere every night; you just have to learn which places suit you.
As well as the History Society, I joined dance and mountaineering societies.
I have been to careers workshops, which were brilliant and also had advice on my CV; the staff are helpful and genuinely interested in your future. I also went to a talk specifically for History students, which outlined areas a history graduate can go into. Studying History, you gain transferable skills such as attention to detail, research and analytical skills that are useful in any career.
I have also been an ambassador for the University and have gained a lot of useful experience through that.
I want to do a Master’s in Modern History at Kent and then I may go travelling before deciding what to do next.
Definitely, that’s why I don’t want to leave! I have grown in confidence, I was always ambitious but now I understand how I can realise my ambitions.
Study a subject you are excited by, then you will be motivated to do better.