Final few law students at Medway reflect on experience of part-time study
4 August 2017
This summer, six of the last ten law students on Kent's Medway campus graduated from Rochester Cathedral after completing six years of part-time evening study.
Going forward, all students applying to study law, whether full-time or part-time at Kent, are now taught at Kent's main campus in Canterbury (with part-time study at Canterbury offered during the daytime only.)
As Kent Law School prepares for its final year of teaching at Medway, staff and students have been reflecting on their experiences of juggling home and work commitments with their studies.
Dr Karen Devine, Academic Lead for Medway, said: ‘On behalf of all the staff that have taught at Medway over the years, we are delighted to see our (almost) final cohort of part-time evening Law LLB students graduate from Rochester Cathedral. To successfully combine study with work and childcare/caring commitments to achieve a degree is an amazing feat, but to have the stamina and determination to dedicate six years of one’s life to doing so is truly remarkable. We are immensely proud of them all and wish them further success in everything they do in the future.’
The six students who graduated at Rochester Cathedral on Tuesday 18 July included Gemma Blythe, Lee Georgiou, Hayley Goucher and Mandeep Pannu with Rosemary Hawkins and Kelly Sharpe graduating in absentia.
Thinking back on her decision to commit to six years of part-time study, Gemma said: 'When I decided to enrol as a law student, I was already working at a law firm as a legal secretary so did not have time to attend lectures and seminars during the day. I also had my own personal commitments, I have my own family and children, so it had to be a part-time course that I could fit in around my then current commitments. At first the thought of the extra studies was quite daunting but once I was in a routine, everything fell into place.
'The biggest benefit to me was being able to listen to lectures online in my own time. I would usually listen to them and read after I had put my children to bed! Whilst studying, I applied for a job as a caseworker at my firm and was successful. I felt my employers appreciated the dedication I had shown through working and studying at the same time. I am very lucky to work for such a supportive and encouraging law firm, Tuckers Solicitors LLP (then Kent Defence).
Hayley had a three-year old daughter when she first began her LLB Law studies and wasn't able to stop working: 'Although it was difficult to juggle everything, it certainly was worth the effort because studying the LLB has changed me not only educationally, but also as a person and my outlook on life. The LLB has instilled me with fantastic analytical and problem solving skills which I feel has helped prepare me for a career in law.
'I have absolutely enjoyed my time studying law at the Medway Campus and it is a real shame that it is now closing down. All of the teaching staff were approachable and very supportive, and because it was a much smaller circle, it felt like a close network, which was really nice. The facilities at the Drill Hall Library were fantastic also.
'I could not have asked for more inspirational, supportive teachers who really help you to reach your full potential. I feel truly proud to be a graduate from Kent Law School.'
Both Hayley and Gemma agree that part-time study is an excellent option for those with with family and/or work commitments.
Gemma said: ' The University of Kent and, in particular Kent Law School, have been so supportive! I feel very honoured to have obtained a Bachelor of Law with Upper Second Class Honours from Kent, as it is recognised as a respected critical law school and I would recommend it to anyone with a passion for law and learning. Go for it!’
Students taking the part-time route at Canterbury study the equivalent of the full-time LLB over a total of six years, covering the same content as the full-time course but with half the course load each year. Part-time study takes place at varying times Monday to Friday between 9am and 6pm, alongside full time students. Anyone interested in applying for part-time studies at Kent should apply directly to the University rather than through UCAS. There is no fixed closing date but you are encouraged to apply for your programme as early as possible.