Simple Student is a blog & platform for students in the UK. The mission is to make University simple and accessible for everyone, through sharing quality advice written by students for students.
University is often seen as something only for the privileged; and many people don’t get the support they need to get in to uni or get through uni. If you’re already at uni, you may be finding academia difficult to get to grips with. Budget cuts continue to reduce contact hours with lecturers and academics, which means we don’t get to ask the questions we need to, things like:
“What on earth is a literature review?”
“How do I cite things properly?“
Simple Student was set up to answer your questions and make it easier to understand academia. Through our blog we are working to help you answer those questions you might be too embarrassed to ask or not get to ask. We want you to be super productive and get the grades you want. Whether you’re a student-to-be, currently studying, or just graduated, we want you to strive toward your success! As a community we can help each other develop and ensure the mental, physical and emotional wellbeing of our peers. And so if you’ve got a useful tip, we urge you to share your advice.
A good education is for everyone. So let’s ensure everyone gets it.What do you wish you knew before you got to uni? Click To Tweet
This site was founded by Kevin Karaca. He’s recently completed a Master’s in Anthropology at the University of Sussex, having graduated from City, University of London in Cultural & Creative Industries. He is our Editor, and very much looks forward to receiving article proposals from current or recently graduated students. He is currently applying to study a PhD at Sussex.
An introduction to Kevin, in his words:
I was terrible at English in school. My year 6 teacher said I would never be good at it; and so, I never tried. I grew to hate all written subjects by GCSE: English Language, English Literature, History, Religion Studies, Geography, Business Studies. But I also hated Art, Biology & Chemistry. For my A-Levels I took Physics, Maths and Design & Technology. But really, I just wanted to be a rockstar. As a result of this, my schooling left me disillusioned with my own capabilities and feeling inadequate to continue studying after college.
When it came to thinking about University I just didn’t know what to do. Pressure from my parents and college lead me to choose Civil Engineering; it seemed like the logical decision. Before the first year ended I knew I hated it. I was lagging behind in class, whilst doing everything & anything to make myself busy so I didn’t have to study (mainly working & drinking). Just before my second year January exams I quit, and was ready to leave university and go in to bar management.
However, I was unsure whether that was the right decision. After a long chat and a BIG push from my parents, I decided to pick another course. Having always loved music and events, I transferred to the Cultural & Creative Industries course at City University, London. The problems was, this was essay based. I was scared, anxious; it was going to be a struggle.
After not writing well or wanting to write for as long as I remember, I graduated from this course with a First Class Degree. Immersing myself in subjects that I’m interested in has lead me to enjoy academia much more than I thought possible.
I’ve mentored new students, and during my 3rd year I helped and gave feedback on a lot of my peers’ assignments (both written and not). After university, I volunteered at the awesome Youth Space in Poplar, East London, Spotlight. I spent my time here with young people, many left behind by the education system, exploring the creative industries, particularly in music production & composition.
Following this, I started a Masters in Anthropology at the University of Sussex, with a £5000 scholarship; and I am currently applying to study a PhD at Sussex.
So why start Simple Student?
Looking back at my journey through the education system, I came to realise that it was overwhelmingly because I never knew how to do things that I came to hate it. School and University can be boring. We don’t often get to choose the modules we study. I learnt that accepting them and discovering something new allows you to explore pathways you may never have thought relevant. (And yes, some of them are really dull.) Many of my undergraduate modules seemed pointless at the time. Yet, I am using texts from them now in my masters degree. (So stick to it!!)
The methods and techniques I’ve developed over the years have allowed me to learn very broadly; and, I think, have made me a better person – though that’s not for me to judge. Since starting university, I’ve worked on the side consistently in many areas: various bar jobs, producing a short film, releasing a single, graphic design for a political party, editing an academic blog for a short period, and website curation/creation.
My frustration with the lack of support along the way, however, has lead me to create Simple Student. Through this I hope to be able to support and assist as many of you going through UK education as possible. My aim is to create a community where people willingly offer advice and aid each other in academic life and hopefully in life after that as well.
In closing, I’m reminded of a quote attributed to Mark Twain, “I never let my schooling interfere with my education.” This is the heart of simplestudent.uk, placing education in front of schooling. The former is so much more important than the latter; it allows us all to go to do great things. So if you’re about educating yourself, you’re in the right place. Let’s create a community about learning and maybe we can make a more caring and loving world!