The 21-year-old had to defer her place at Edge Hill University by a year after breaking her ankle a week before she was due to start, on top of months of anxiety and depression following the intensity of her exams.
But when she finally arrived in Ormskirk she was ready to make the most of university life and threw herself into every opportunity – from winning dance competitions and representing the EHU Dance Society to volunteering with two dance companies.
“Winning the scholarship was a big confidence boost because I wasn’t really expecting it,” she said. “It’s nice that my hard work has been recognised because I always felt a bit overlooked at school, being a quiet child.”
Now a third-year BA Dance student, Lydia explained her unfortunate roller-skating accident acted like “a switch” which focused her mind away from her mental state and enabled her to focus on getting better and going to university.
“I didn’t know if I’d be able to dance again to the same standard and it was really sad seeing all my friends go off to uni without me but I was determined to get doing things again after the accident. So I got a job straight away and made sure I got walking on it as quickly as I could.
“In the end I think breaking my leg was a blessing in disguise, it helped snap me out of my negative thoughts, it made me focus on physical rather than mental pain, it was literally like a switch and I felt fine after that.
“I’m a real advocate for talking about your problems, it’s really important to highlight these things but also show how you can overcome them and use them to drive you forward.
“I am now a stronger dancer than ever, both physically and mentally.”
Lydia, who has dyslexia, praised Edge Hill staff for their support and commitment to providing students with opportunities for work experience and professional development.
Originally from Harrogate, Lydia is currently working with Ludus Dance children’s dance charity – including a performance at this month’s Light Up Lancaster – and Company Chameleon’s youth dance company, after Edge Hill introduced the organisations to students.
Lydia has also excelled when competing for the EHU Dance Team, winning best female dancer in the University of Liverpool’s 2021 dance competition and she choreographed the team’s ballet dance at this year’s Liverpool John Moores University dance competition which placed third.
During her first two years at Edge Hill she advocated for her course peers as a student representative and acted as treasurer and committee member for the Dance Society. She currently teaches contemporary dance for the Society.
“Our tutors have really prepared us for work, I feel ready to make a career out of dance, from teaching different age groups to performance, community work and choreography.
“I’ve loved my time at Edge Hill, I feel like I found myself here, I’ve found my own dance style.
“My advice to new students would be take every opportunity you’re given and show who you are, don’t try and be like everyone else.”
Lydia has lived on campus for two of her three years at Edge Hill, appreciating how safe and calm the Ormskirk site feels.
“I was quite anxious when I was visiting universities, Edge Hill was the only place where I felt relaxed. I thought ‘these are my people’.
“The Arts Centre is such an amazing facility for a dance student – to have two professional theatre spaces and so many other places to practice and perform is brilliant – and we are really given the freedom to experiment and figure out what we want to do.”
Lydia, who said her favourite place on campus was the Dance Studio at the top of The Arts Centre, hopes to run her own dance company one day and provide affordable classes for children from less affluent backgrounds.
“It really saddens me that there’s so little dance taught in schools these days, there are so many creative kids out there who don’t get a chance, I want to help fix that.”
Edge Hill University offers a range of scholarships for applicants and current students to celebrate determination, commitment and achievement in a variety of areas, from rewarding academic excellence, overcoming adversity, and helping and inspiring others. Learn more about the range of scholarships the University offers.
Alongside one of the most impressive and innovative scholarship packages in the higher education sector, the University operates the Student Opportunity Fund to help students take part in career enhancing opportunities. Find out more about our Student Opportunity Fund.
To discover more about courses at Edge Hill University, please visit ehu.ac.uk/study.
November 17, 2022