Action shot of David Boakye exploding out of the traps at a race

Pharmacy student David Boakye has always strived for success and prides himself on his determination and discipline. Here he shares how he balances his studies at Aston with his life as a student athlete, and his ambitions for the future.

Coming from a working-class background, after my older brother, I am only the second person in my family to attend University. This is a privilege that I do not take lightly as I understand that I’m currently in a position that my parents never had to chance to be in.

I’ve always felt like excellence and success was the only option for me, whether that be in academics or in any other part of my life. I have grown to understand that the opportunities that are in front of me just cannot be taken for granted. Especially after moving to England at only age 11, (from Italy) barely speaking English, I’ve felt the need to work twice as hard as my companions my entire life, just to reach their level.

It was this disciplined and determined mindset that has led me to where I am now, my second year studying Pharmacy at Aston University.

If someone had told me I would be in this position after I finished my GCSE’s as a 16-year-old a few years back, I probably would’ve laughed. Because opportunities like these don’t happen to people like me, where I come from. So I can acknowledge and respect that I am fortunate to be where I am and so make sure that in everything I do, I give 100%.

As a keen athlete, I have to manage the stress and workload of balancing my studies with my sport. Even though this is somewhat difficult, athletics (I’m a 100m & 200m sprinter) is what I love and I wouldn’t want to swap it for anything else in the world. Even whilst at University, where I’ve had the chance to represent Aston University at the BUCS (British Universities & Colleges Sports) championships, I’ve had to push myself and grow into a young man who is independent. Someone who takes responsibility of my own rest, recovery and diet as an athlete and someone who not only keeps up to date with all the lectures, labs and assignments, but also goes above and beyond what is required by engaging with my lecturers, as a Pharmacy student.

When I was offered a place at Aston it was a pretty big deal for myself and my family, getting the grades to even get in was a big deal in itself and being a recipient of the scholarship was even a bigger deal. I’ve just been blessed by people who believe that I deserve such a financial support and that is something I will be eternally grateful for. The money helps me to travel to various placements across the midlands, buy textbooks and even supports me in continuing to be the best student athlete that I can possibly be.

I think the reason why Pharmacy is so suited to me as a course is because of the relationship I get to build with people – as a healthcare professional in the future, but also now. I’ve formed lifelong friendships with my course mates and I’m excited to explore different sectors in Pharmacy after my four-year integrated Masters degree, in the real world. I would love to one day go into Hospital Pharmacy, particularly in a children’s hospital and change the life of every single child I come into contact with in my working environment, by supporting them and helping them with their conditions and improving their lifestyle and quality of life.