23-year-old Joy Sanni graduated with first class honours in Cell Biology and Genetics at the University of despite the fact that she doesn’t was going through health issues like sickle cell Anaemia and avascular necrosis of the hip
She discusses her experience during her interview with Alexander Okere from Legit Blog.
What was growing up like for you as a child with sickle cell anaemia?
“I am the last born of my family. Growing up as a child with sickle cell anaemia was a terrible experience. I did not feel normal”
What kind of thoughts did you have when you were diagnosed with avascular necrosis days after you received your offer of admission to the university?
“When I was diagnosed with avascular necrosis, I was really sad and devastated because I had just got an offer of admission to the university. I kept imagining how I would cope in school with a walking aid, and what type of reactions I would get from people at school”
How did this challenge affect you at school as a fresh student?
“As a fresh student, it was really a struggle. It was my first time being away from home because I never attended a boarding school growing up. So, taking care of myself in a school hostel for the first time and having to do that, while being physically-challenged was double work. Also, as a science student, I had to attend laboratory practicals. The school’s laboratories are located upstairs. A particular lab we used most often was located on the third floor in my faculty. That was another struggle – taking the stairways to go for practicals. It was hard conveying my walking frame on the stairway. And even when I had started walking on my own, it was painful climbing the stairs”
You studied Cell Biology and Genetics. Is that what you’ve always wanted to study and what was the motivation?
“What I had always wanted to study is Medicine. I put in for Medicine and Surgery at UNILORIN in my first Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination. I passed the exams, but for some reason, I wasn’t selected.
So, I chose to study Biochemistry at the University of Lagos. I got admitted on merit. However, I had to change my course in my second year because from 200 Level, Biochemistry students at UNILAG receive lectures at a distant college outside Akoka and that was going to be stressful for me. So I changed my course to Cell Biology and Genetics which was closer and also aligned with my area of interest”
Did you have a study routine? What was it like?
“I tend to assimilate better in the mornings. So, I read my notes when I wake up, before going for lectures. I start studying from the beginning of every semester to avoid overworking myself during exam periods. I also draft out a reading timetable a month before my exams to keep me organised and I revise a lot in my free time”
Having graduated with a first class, what is your plan?
“My desire is to get a master’s abroad in Public Health because I would love to make an impact on the health and well-being of people, and also have an opportunity to become an advocate for sickle cell disease and other chronic illnesses”