No matter what happens to you, be optimistic
Stacey Sang obtained a Diploma in Business Management at the recent Strathmore Institute graduation. She was the top student in her class, graduating with a 3.95 GPA. She is currently a first year Financial Economics student. As the world marks the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities, she describes her experience following a harrowing road accident that robbed her of both her arms. She plays the piano with her prosthesis and types with her toes. Moments spent with her leave one appreciating the strength of the human spirit to overcome what seem to be insurmountable odds.
How did you manage to achieve a 3.95 GPA?
I had a timetable. I would wake up at 4 am every day. I would study until 5.30 am when I’d get ready to go to class. I would also spend a large amount of time and borrow books from the library, have consultations with lecturers and take part in group discussions.
What has your experience at Strathmore University been?
I thought it would be scary getting into university. It was hard making friends at first but now I have many. The university community has been supportive. The lecturers give me extra time to finish CATs and exams as I can’t write as quickly as everyone else. The fashion cops have been a great help too.
What extra-curricular activities are you involved in?
I was recently appointed a member of the student council senate specifically in the Vice President senate. We help the members of the student council strategize and oversee activities. I am in charge of organizing team buildings and Corporate Social Responsibility projects.
How was the experience coming out of the accident?
I was involved in a road accident when I was class 7. I was 11 years old at the time. The moments after the accident were really hard because at one point I had arms and the next I didn’t. I had to relearn many things like writing. I used to write with my right arm, now I had to learn to use my left arm. I went through a lot of physiotherapy and counselling to overcome the trauma.
You mentioned that people find it difficult to talk to you and give you a lot of space. How are you able overcome that?
The way I am is not something that people are used to; I get a lot of stares and I get asked a lot of questions. At first I was uncomfortable about it but with time I realised that people are not looking at me because of something bad. They are just curious to know what happened. So when they ask questions I always answer and that way they have an idea of what happened and how they can help me.
What has the accident taught you? Has it transformed you into a different person?
Before the accident, I wasn’t an open person; I would keep to myself and get lost in the crowd. But after the accident I had to open up because when I would need someone to help me write, pack my bag, or feed me, I had to get out of myself and ask for help. I also realised that no matter what happens to you, you have to be optimistic. You don’t have to concentrate on the negative side. This has happened. The bright side is I don’t have to do chores anymore. I can just chill.
How have you been able to get to a point where you can laugh at not having to do chores? It must have been difficult to readjust to a new sort of life.
What helped me overcome the experience of being disabled is the support my parents and siblings have given me. My friends have also been a great help. I also pray a lot so this gives me the strength to move on.
This article was written by Wambui Gachari.
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