Since I’ve been at Edge Hill I’ve discovered a confidence I didn’t know I had and I feel more inspired.

When I arrived at Edge Hill as a shy 18-year-old, struggling with anorexia nervosa, I would never have believed how different my life would be three years on.

The real change started at the end of my first year, when I went along to Edge Hill’s vegan food fair. I wasn’t thinking of going vegan but I was immediately attracted to the environmental, health and animal welfare reasons behind veganism. I was disappointed there wasn’t anyone championing veganism at University so I founded Edge Hill’s first ever Vegan Society. Since then, I’ve become more and more involved in vegan activism and spend a lot of my time talking to students and members of the public about veganism. In my first year, the idea of doing that would have terrified me.

I have had problems with my mental health while at university, but the staff at Edge Hill have always been very understanding. I have a learning mentor and special equipment to help me in lectures. Thanks to this support, I have gone on to receive a high achievers scholarship, an Excellence Scholarship for my role in setting up the Vegan Society and created a plant-based food company which was runner up in Edge Hill’s Entrepreneurship Awards.

Some people thought that studying Nutrition would be difficult for me, given my problematic relationship with food, but it’s actually helped me think about food in a different way. Now that I’ve recovered, I can see how important it is and what an integral part it plays in life. Becoming vegan has also helped me to see food as less scary, because I know nothing has been harmed to make what I’m eating.

Since I’ve been at Edge Hill I’ve discovered a confidence I didn’t know I had and I feel more inspired. It’s nice not to be the girl with anorexia anymore but it’s good to be able to use that experience to help others, whether that’s through my Instagram (plant_based_lydia) or by supporting other students who are struggling with eating disorders.