Rory Luke Tucker

Rory Luke Tucker

United Kingdom
PhD Psychology

Can you provide a brief overview of your PhD subject?

Investigating how physical activity affects ADHD symptoms in adults. While there has been some research into the effects in children, there is substantially less within adults (and females as well, which is another research interest).

What did you do prior to completing your PhD?

Psychology Bsc at Swansea University (2017-2020)

Why did you decided to complete a PhD?

I was originally planning on following a more clinical based pathway but through the course of my undergraduate degree I found that research was what really engaged and interested me. Additionally, my research topic was of particular interest to myself as I had noticed my own ADHD symptoms alleviating when I was doing more exercise but when I looked for research about it, I found very little. Therefore, conducting my own research into the area combined both a professional and personal interest for myself.

Why did you decide to study at Swansea University?

Partially familiarity with the University and city itself as well as already having solid social connections here making it much easier. But beyond that, I also got on very well with the Psychology department staff who had always been very helpful and supportive and thought it would be great to be part of that community.

What challenges have you faced?

The obstacles of the pandemic were probably the biggest in my first year and part of my second year, making in-person research essentially inaccessible. It also made it much more difficult to meet with other PGR students and experience more of the social side of a PhD.

In my second year I was president of the Taekwondo society, making it very hard to stay on top of everything and balance my commitments.

Additionally, my own ADHD (ironically) has made it harder to regulate myself and my work given the loose structure of a PhD.

What have you gained from undertaking your PhD?

Primarily a much greater understanding of the academic world and the research process. Additionally, I am much better at keeping myself on track and working with little outside guidance to regulate my work which is something that was a real difficulty for myself at the start of my PhD.

How will your qualification help your career? Has it already helped your career?

I am certainly planning on continuing a career into research so naturally my qualification will help massively with that, demonstrating I can analyse existing literature, identify areas of need and conduct my own research. My work as a PWA and a senior teaching assistant will help with any educational roles I pursue.

What’s been your highlight?

My top highlight so far has probably been winning joint first place for my 5-minute presentation at the Faculty PGR conference. It was the first conference I had been to and the first time I had presented my work in an official capacity so being awarded the prize was a big surprise. It certainly boosted my confidence in myself and gave me a lot more drive for my work.

What advice would you give to students considering postgraduate study?

Take time considering what your research aims are and whether this course is best for your future goals. Be aware that the structure of a PhD is very different and much more loose than other courses you likely would have taken before so be prepared to keep yourself on track. I personally found getting myself an office at the university really helped me separate my personal life from my working life and helped me focus. Try to look out for opportunities to meet up with other PGR students and colleagues both for professional connections and socially. Finally, there will almost always be a point where you will get severe imposter syndrome and feel overwhelmed with it all. I think every single PhD student I have talked to has had this, just know that it is something that everyone has felt, and you are not alone.