PhD tips from Doctoral Champion, Lucie Lévêque, School of Computer Science and Informatics
Lucie Lévêque, PhD student in the School of Computer Science and Informatics and Doctoral Champion, provides her PhD tips.
"I am currently in the third year of my PhD in Computer Science, having received a scholarship from Cardiff University to investigate medical experts’ visual experience. I have so far been working with different types of medical images and videos, including ultrasound exams, surgeries and mammograms.
The main challenge with my PhD topic is to find medical professionals available for the experiments – as we know they are already extremely busy with clinical practice. However, I have been very lucky with this and found enough volunteers.
For me, the most enjoyable part of my research is being able to meet many medical experts, such as surgeons and radiologists. It’s great to have the opportunity to learn so much from their experience and expertise. Furthermore, they have all shown a real interest in my research, which comforts me regarding actual applications for my work.
Another great part of my PhD journey is the different events I have had the opportunity to attend, including workshops and conferences in various countries (including the USA and China), as well as a summer school in Plymouth and visiting a Belgian university. All these events have allowed me to meet other researchers and discover other fields of research, but also to share my work and preliminary results. Thanks to the Doctoral Academy, I have also had the chance to participate in an exhibition (Images of Research), a conference run by and for students (Speaking of Science) and diverse workshops (my favourite one being The Imposter Syndrome). These activities have all helped to make me feel part of the PhD community here at Cardiff University.
If I had to give two tips to current or future PhD students, I think they would be the following. Firstly, make sure to keep a good balance between your PhD and your personal life. It is very important to keep on meeting your friends, going to the gym, traveling the world (check out my travel blog here!), or whatever your hobbies are. A simple way to apply this principle could be to leave work in the office, so that home is for leisure and relaxation. There might be some times when you will have to work late, or in the weekends, but try to make these times rare! Secondly, ensure that you love your PhD topic and share it with others! Talk with other PhD students in your field, but also from other fields. Talk with researchers and lecturers. Use conference breaks to develop your network and to sell your work. Don’t be shy, nothing bad can happen. At worst, people will not be interested in your research. At best, you could be offered a postdoc position or a job in the country you have always been dreaming of!"