Case study

How Elodie became a whole new version of herself

Elodie Lee didn’t think she was going to make it to university. A kidney transplant a few months before her A-level exams meant she dropped out of education for a while. But it also gave her a chance to take stock and rethink what she wanted to do next. And now she’s loving her BSc (Hons) Psychology at Derby.

The beginning

Elodie took a little time to consider her options after her transplant. She finally decided she did want to give university a try so ended up doing an Access to Higher Education course at college. And now she admits: “I absolutely adore my degree!”

As soon as Elodie arrived at Derby, everything changed. And she was happy to go along with it. She says: “At school, I never really found my place. Everyone knew me as the sick kid. When I came to uni, it completely changed and people just valued me for me.”

And this was a very different Elodie from the reserved and shy teenager who never spoke up in class and never took part in extracurricular activities at school.

“Now I want to try everything and I just want to take every opportunity,” she says. “And I speak up in the lectures now. That is something that I never ever thought I could do and it was huge for me."

Elodie Lee smiling gently

I think the biggest thing uni has taught me is to be an individual. It's just learning about yourself. And I’ve learned a lot.

Elodie Lee
BSc (Hons) Psychology

Why choose Derby?

Elodie knew she wanted to carry on living at home in Staffordshire during her university studies so she looked at universities within commuting range, including Derby.

She explains: “When I went to the Open Day at Derby, I knew I loved it. I kind of evaluated my choices and thought, actually, Derby's a lot more suited to me, it's a lot more modern. It's easy for me to get to.

“Then I went into the Facebook groups and WhatsApp groups and started talking to people there and it was fantastic. Everyone was just chatty and welcoming. I thought, at the very least, I'm going to get along with these people. And I had this realisation: there is absolutely no way I want to go anywhere else but Derby.

“And then, obviously, I went to Derby and started and it completely went over all my expectations. It was just incredible. And I found people that were very like-minded. It was great. I loved it. I could not live without them. They support me so, so much.”

Academic support

Elodie’s kidney function is now as good as new. However, she does have mild dyslexia and slow processing, possibly fallout from when she first got sick as a toddler. She says: “The university is really supporting me. That’s really helped me. When I've gone to lecturers and asked for help, they are always there.

“All of my lecturers are brilliant. They are so passionate about psychology but also so passionate about getting to know students on a personal level. And my personal academic tutor, Chris Barnes, he has been unbelievable. He has supported me with every single step because I can go to him and I don't have to be ashamed about asking anything.”

And it goes both ways. Elodie is lending her support to one of her lecturers, Carol Stalker, who has been researching the psychology around kidney patients. Elodie has signed up for our Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme (URSS), which students can take part in at the end of their second year.

Elodie explains: “One of the first things I saw in my induction was her research and I couldn't believe it because I'd only just gone through all of this process. And I was just like: I have to be involved.

“I've been speaking to her about it for over the whole time I've been at university and I want to help her research. I want to do a mini study which helps her further studies into kidney disease and acceptance. I love the fact that I can do that and be involved and enjoy that as well.”

Kedleston Road, Derby Campus entrance

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