As part of a series of features, we caught up with some of the class of 2016 to speak about their first year away from Rydal Penrhos, what they have been up to and their plans for the future.
The second instalment features Drama student Lydia Dickson:
There isn’t a part of Rydal Penrhos life that Lydia did not make an influence on during her time at the school, and she has just completed her first year at Loughborough University.
The 19-year-old has hit the ground running in a number of different areas at the university, and she was awarded a place there following an A in her Drama A-level.
She said: “I have enjoyed my first year at university more than I could have imagined. I assumed I knew what to expect from it, but it turned out to be completely different yet so much more exciting than I ever thought it would be.
“Being a part of Loughborough has lived up to expectations massively and I don’t think there is much I would change looking back at this year.
“I’ve launched myself into many things at the university, from sports clubs to continue my love for playing netball, but also societies such as stage and drama, getting all my interests rolled into one (as well as the girls drinking society).
The former Prefect spoke about her highlights during her time in further education so far, and has also learnt some important life lessons along the way.
"My biggest highlight would definitely be freshers’ week (or two in my case), as I got to express myself, join clubs, make new friends who I would now call some of my closest and just have a full two weeks of laughter,” added Lydia.
“There wasn’t a dull moment and I cannot wait to do it all again this coming September, and I think a lot of people who have gone to university anywhere will agree.
“I have definitely learnt independence. I always thought I was independent, however, moving away does throw you in at the deep end, and it can be a bit daunting and I did have times when I just wanted to take a break, but it’s such a good way to start your life and gain that ability to stand on your own two feet.
“Also, I learnt not to blow your student loan on silly things like clothes (you do have to eat!).”
The ex-pupil recently returned to the school to take part in a special Q&A session with Lower Sixth Form pupils as part of their Higher Education Preparation Day, where she offered advice and told the group how a Rydal Penrhos education prepared her for the next step.
Lydia said: “I have always said and always will that Rydal Penrhos has shaped me into the person I am, and I have taken things from school, especially Sixth Form to help me in my time this year.
“My ability to communicate made it a lot more relaxing to be able to make friends and enjoy the experience, as well as the organisational skills I learnt has helped me keep on top of my course, which is not something you want to let slip, even if people keep telling me ‘first year doesn’t count’.
“The advice I would give is just work hard and enjoy it, be yourself and you can’t really go wrong. Don’t shy away and throw yourself into everything and anything, then you’ll love it.
“It was strange coming back to Rydal Penrhos to be honest, because it felt like two minutes ago I was writing my personal statement stressing whether to do what I love or what I think is going to get me a good job.
“It’s crazy, but was great to share my experiences and advice with people who were in my position a year ago.”