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Joseph Ojoo was a student with DIFC in the class of 2014.

Joseph is an out-going, intelligent young man from Kenya and was popular both with classmates and DIFC staff. A big fan of rugby, literature and, interestingly, stunt work, Joseph always has something interesting to talk about. This week students in the class of 2015 have been busy finishing up their final exams so I thought it would be nice to find out how Joseph is finding student life, one year since he was going through the stress of final NCUK exams.

1.       What are you now studying (and where)?

I am studying Pharmacy (MPHARM) at Queens University Belfast.

2.       How have you enjoyed your first year in university?

My first year has had its fair share of ups and downs, but I would say yes, I have.

3.       What was the biggest challenge(s) you faced?

My biggest challenge was learning to be my own person and do what I am supposed to do in spite of everyone else around me. Just because my classmates can go drinking and partying a night before a paper does not automatically suggest that I can do the same. Another thing; studying hard for a paper is not equivalent to studying SMART for one (Huh, I suddenly want to thank Dr Lorraine for that). I chose a demanding course; I kind of have to suck it up and keep on keeping on.

4.       Has it been hard work?

I can say with absolute certainty that this is the hardest that I have ever had to work in my life. I have always managed to cruise in the (academic) fast lane by sheer determination to pass and light revision, but that just does not cut it here. You either know the facts (especially in Health-related courses) or you do not. You cannot base a patient’s life on your guessing the right/wrong drug.

5.       Do you think the course in DIFC helped you get through year 1 in university?

Yes, in a way. My presentation skills are still a work in progress, but the Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics classes were a great help. We learned the same things again in the first semester and it was like revision for me. (Side-note: I probably did not attend most of those classes. .  . .  .or did I? Anyway, they don’t keep a class register here) The EAP classes were fun and, as I later discovered, a huge boost to my conversational confidence (I know, right? Who knew??) so group projects are a breeze since communication skills are top-notch all around (with me taking point, of course)

6.       What advice would you give someone starting university in 2015/2016?

Be true to you; do not get lost in all the people you meet. If you cannot handle 10 drinks, don’t try to; no one wants to drag you home, covered in and smelling of your stomach contents, mumbling incoherently about seeing Elvis Presley with your wallet. (I know, pretty specific) Secondly, eat a balanced diet and exercise; totally not overrated. Future you will thank past you someday. Lastly, join a club or society; you will love it and many of them come with some serious benefits. TRUST ME.


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