Why did you choose the University of Wolverhampton for your doctoral studies?
After graduating with a First-Class Honours Sport and Exercise Science degree from the University of Lincoln in 2011, I knew I wanted to continue with my studies – but I wasn’t really sure about what direction I wanted to take. I loved every aspect of my sports science course, particularly sports psychology. With encouragement from my tutors, I began to consider study at post-graduate level, and it was with their support that I put in an application for a PhD examining self-control at Wolverhampton. I knew the topic area would provide me with a great platform to combine my interests in social psychology and sport performance. However, the major factor that swayed my decision to study at Wolverhampton was the chance to work alongside Professor Andy Lane and Dr Tracey Devonport, both of whom are leading researchers in the field of sport and exercise psychology, and have a wealth of applied practice experience.
What did you enjoy most about being at doctoral student at the University of Wolverhampton?
I’ve some great memories from my time at Wolverhampton and I’d say the thing I enjoyed most about studying at Wolverhampton was working with Professor Lane and Dr Devonport – we even ran a marathon together! They allowed me to explore my interests and immerse myself in a topic area, but importantly guided me towards successful completion. In doing so, they paved the way for me to seek new challenges.
What are you doing now and how did being a doctoral student at the University of Wolverhampton help?
I’m now lecturing at the University of Kent, combining research with teaching. My supervisors provided me with so many rich and varied experiences, from teaching undergraduate students to supporting fitness testing with local professional sports teams. They also provided me with opportunities to deliver performance psychology support to athletes and involved me with research projects of their own. Their philosophy was very much to treat me as a colleague rather than their student or understudy, and that allowed me to express my ideas with confidence. It’s something I try to embed within my teaching and research supervision today.
What tips would you give to new doctoral students?
Here are my top tips: 1. Earning your PhD degree is hard work and so expect to put the hours in. You’ll find the quality of your work improves with the more reading and writing you do, and unfortunately there’s no shortcut for that – you must find time to hone your craft. 2. I’d strongly encourage you to consider your motives for PhD study. I can’t stress enough how important it is that the PhD experience excites you. It will most certainly be challenging, but the thought of completion must be one that is stimulating rather than overwhelming. With that in mind, I’d urge anyone who is considering PhD study to really think about whether the topic area is right for them. 3. In most cases your PhD will not be your magnum opus – and so don’t obsess about trying to produce the perfect PhD!