Sarah Willoughby, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, wanted to increase her skillset to work towards a career in acting, so she decided on a full time degree.

The University of Cumbria wasn’t Sarah’s first choice though. “I actually applied through clearing on results day, but I was very happy with the friendly attitude and welcoming nature of the staff I spoke to, which made me more than happy to accept the offer of a place on the course. The range of modules available covered a wide spectrum of topics and seemed to be an even split of theoretical and practical work, which I wanted there to be.”

Being at university took a bit of adjustment for Sarah. “During the first two weeks of university, I felt incredibly homesick and anxious. My lecturer Jez (Jeremy Colclough, course leader for Acting) was very attentive and understanding and was willing to do anything he could to make sure I settled in. He scheduled a weekly meeting to discuss my progress, or just to take my mind off the things bothering me, but luckily I grew used to university life and I didn’t need to meet with him anymore.”

The range of modules available covered a wide spectrum of topics. The attitute of both staff and students is very professional without being intimidating.

She soon grew out of her early nervousness and managed to develop a newfound confidence in herself. “Through school I felt very withdrawn from people and occasionally suffered anxiety issues, but since growing used to university life I feel happier in my own skin than I’ve ever been. I find it so much easier to talk to new people and I really think I owe it to this university.”

Sarah plans to build on her confidence in her future plans, hoping to soon take the stage in a production in her hometown. “There’s no shortage of theatres back home and it’d be a dream come true to act on one of those stages.”

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