It was the course I wanted to do. The modules are really interesting. There’s a wide range of them and the focus on astrophysics is good. Also, when I came to see the campus it was gorgeous – it feels like a small town in itself. It’s just really green and the people are so lovely. I really loved it, so Kent became my top choice.
I’m in stage three and it’s going really well. It’s challenging but that’s to be expected. It’s also enjoyable, which is nice. There’s a module this year on analytical mechanics; that one’s really fun. Also, some of the harder modules, like quantum mechanics, are very enjoyable. The topics that are more difficult are more satisfying to learn, if that makes sense. It feels like a real achievement because quantum mechanics obviously isn’t the easiest thing. When you get to a stage where you actually understand it, it’s very rewarding.
All of the lecturers are lovely – they’re always so helpful. There’s a variety of teaching styles but all of them are good at teaching. And they’re really supportive. They’re happy for you to drop by their office and explain anything you’re having trouble with, or go over a question with you. They even help you with other things, such as applying for internships, CVs and all that stuff, so it’s really nice.
It was quite a large course, with a good balance of male and female students. It wasn’t difficult to make friends because we’re all in the same boat. You can talk to almost anyone about an assignment: everyone is happy to help.
Last summer I was going to be in Canterbury, so I emailed one of my lecturers who is doing research on a topic I’m interested in. He encouraged me to do a project as a summer internship which was really good. The project was called Determining the Statistical Lifetimes of Higher Mass Stars. I was learning how to classify sources, depending on where they appear in different wavelengths. I did graphical analysis of all the results and wrote up a final report on our discoveries. And now we’re publishing a paper on it!
The lab facilities are great. Everyone – all the lab technicians and leaders – are very lovely; they’re always helpful, always there to help you fix up equipment if you can’t figure out how to use it. Also, the new study hub that Physical Sciences shares with Biosciences is really nice. There are loads of computers and some group study space.
The general facilities on campus are great and the library has a very nice atmosphere to work in. When it comes to revision, that’s where I spend most of my time. Or you can sit and chat, or have lunch with people all over campus. It’s not sectioned off, it’s all very open.
Yes, I’m the student rep which has given me more confidence because I have to talk to academics and go to meetings and then relay this back to the other students. I’m also a peer mentor which means I help students from the younger years, if they have any issues. Being a peer mentor is very rewarding because when a student comes to you and says ‘oh, I’m a bit confused about this topic’ or ‘I don’t quite get this question’, you can explain it and that solidifies it for you. And of course, it’s nice to help people.
I also play cricket for the women’s team which is fun. And I’m part of PhysSoc and Kent Tech. In PhysSoc we talks about physics topics, go on trips, have social activities and in Kent Tech, we provide sound and lighting for other societies.
I’m on the four-year course; the MPhys has an integrated Master’s. I switched to this in the first year because I wanted the extra Master’s qualification. After my degree, I want to go on to do a PhD and then become an academic. So PhD, then post-doc work – wherever that takes me. Ideally, I’d like to do my PhD at Kent: I already know the academics here and I’d be happy do a PhD with almost any of them, depending on the topic. I love Canterbury and I love this campus so I wouldn’t mind staying here for however many years it takes.
When choosing a university, make sure that the scenery is something that you’re happy to look at every day! Also, make contact with your lecturers. Make yourself known to people and reach out and send emails if you’re struggling.