Lucie Lewis

Producer at Daft Doris

Why did you choose to study Media and Communication at Loughborough University?

My GCSE Media Studies teacher told our entire class not to do a degree in Media, and I will go to great lengths to prove a point. That being said, I picked up my passion for Media from her and built on that throughout my A-Levels. At AS Level, I was lucky enough to have an amazing lecturer, who was so excited to foster passion in the media industry. He was encouraging at every level and was so proud of all of us, every step of the way. It was the thing I loved most in college, so I thought it would be a great subject to do at degree level. Initially, I was drawn to Loughborough because it was ranked so highly for Media & Communications. Based on this, I travelled from Swansea to Loughborough (by coach!) to see the campus. During the open day, I took a tour of the Students’ Union, which is where I was introduced to LSU Media, which completely sold me on Loughborough. I knew from the first visit that Loughborough was right for me.

What did you enjoy about your course?

The best thing about my course was the support of my lecturers. My first year personal tutor ended up being my dissertation supervisor, so it felt like he was there to support me throughout my entire time at university. I met some extremely talented and interesting academics, many of whom I’m still in touch with now. I eventually specialised in radio, but I loved learning about different disciplines, from conversation analysis to social policy. The lecturers are friendly, passionate, and more than happy to tell you all about their field.

What did you think of the teaching quality and facilities?

I couldn’t have asked for anything better. I had lecturers that brought the subject to life through their passion and knowledge, lecturers that were really excited to be sharing their expertise, and lecturers that genuinely cared about what they were teaching. The facilities on campus are fantastic too. Having spent a lot of time in the library and in the CMSPS space in James France, there were always plenty of places to work in groups and alone.

Tell us about a favourite project/module on your course?

Maybe it’s a weird answer, but my dissertation was the thing I enjoyed doing the most. I loved some modules I did, like Self & Identity, but my dissertation project was a real labour of love. Give a girl with a niche interest 12,000 words to talk about it, and she won’t hesitate. I got to explore my industry in depth with the support of an amazing(ly patient) supervisor, which involved speaking to extremely talented people with established careers in radio. I met some real characters and was able to contribute to research in an area without a great deal of academic attention.

What opportunities has your Loughborough degree opened up to you?

Having the name ‘Loughborough’ behind me has given me a great deal of confidence in my job hunt. A degree from Loughborough means something. More than that, though, going to Loughborough meant that I had the opportunities through LSU Media to develop my practical skills alongside the theory of my course, so I got a really well-rounded experience. I used both what I did at LSU and what I was learning in lectures to settle into who I was and who I wanted to be. 

What kind of support did you receive from your department and/or the University?

Throughout university, I experienced ups and downs with my mental health. My headspace often wasn’t consistent from one day to the next, but the school was very understanding and supportive. I went through phases where I couldn’t attend any lectures in person, but there was a great process in place where someone would reach out to me to check in. Through the support of my lecturers and the course administrators, I always caught up with what I missed and achieved things I never thought possible. My dissertation supervisor in my final year was also a great resource for support and keeping me accountable throughout the entire process. 

Did you complete a placement year whilst at University? If so, what can you tell us about this?

I did! After interviewing for marketing and PR positions, I decided to undertake my placement at a community radio station in Portsmouth. While I would strongly advise against doing an unpaid placement, the experience I had at the radio station was unparalleled. I organised massive broadcast events, trained people in the studio, and created probably 60 ads for broadcast on air. Doing my placement at a radio station meant I was able to get a taste of the industry I wanted to go into, and moreover, compelled me to teach myself the Adobe Suite in a very short period of time, which has since come in very useful.

What has been your career journey since graduating, and how has your Loughborough degree supported this?

The first few months after graduating feel a lot like standing on a frozen lake. After spending 17 years in some form of education, you’re suddenly in a very different world. I had aspirations to go into a very specific field - audio production - so while I could have very quickly gone into a marketing role, as a lot of my friends did, I stuck with my part-time customer service job and held out for a career I was excited about. It was definitely worth waiting for, because I am now very proud to call myself a professional producer. Having my degree from Loughborough meant I knew I had the support of the Careers Network behind me, as well as a solid foundation of knowledge about the history and impact of my industry. I also found it very helpful to have my dissertation to talk about in interviews. Employers are always really keen to see your passion, and what says passion better than 12,000 words?

Did you learn any key skills on your course that have been useful since graduating?

Perseverance, curiosity, and the ability to “just get on with it”. In my final year, I began freelancing as a researcher for a PR company, so the research skills I’d learned in my degree became very useful. The perseverance I learned through completing my degree allowed me to keep patient and calm in my job search. The curiosity inspired by learning from experts helped me keep learning constantly, which in turn supported job applications and interviews. Finally, just getting on with it helped me carry on with my part-time job while I searched for a career. 

What would you say to someone considering your course? Do you have any advice for prospective students?

Do it! Get involved! Throw yourself in! If I could do uni again knowing what I know now, I’d do it in a heartbeat. If you want to go into a practical career, like me, try to get some practical experience alongside your degree. In school, they tell you extracurriculars are important, and they’re right. You’ll learn interesting, inspiring things in your lectures, so put that into practice outside of the lecture hall. There are so many opportunities in Loughborough, whether you want to focus solely on extracurricular media or have a wide variety of interests. You will definitely find your people in university, because whatever niche or weird interest you have, I can almost guarantee you’ll find someone else who loves it too. If I could go back and give my fresher self some advice, it’d be to not wait to get stuck in. Find your joy and have fun with it.

How did you find the social atmosphere on campus? Did you take part in any societies or clubs?

I found my home in LSU Media, so spent most of my time there, but I also got involved with Action and Welfare & Diversity. The sectional staff and executive officers at LSU are so welcoming and will work with you to figure out what would suit you best. I am very much not a party person, so I didn’t really go on nights out, but I didn’t need to. Very quickly, I found where I belonged and had the opportunity to get to know various parts of LSU. I ended up getting involved at a senior volunteer level, but you definitely don’t have to do that to have fun and make friends.

What is your favourite thing about being a Loughborough alumnus?

Once you start your degree, you’re officially adopted into the Loughborough Family. Being a Loughborough alumnus means you’re still part of that family. It feels like being part of something amazing. Loughborough will always have a special place in my heart, and I look forward to the family reunions.