The Hub Q&A with Emily Nishikawa, AU Student and Canadian Women’s National Ski Team Member

Q&A with Emily Nishikawa, AU Student and Canadian Women’s National Ski Team Member

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Can you introduce yourself? Where were you born? How did cross country skiing come into your life?

I was born and raised in Whitehorse, Yukon and started skiing as a young kid with my family. We would ski in trails behind our house, and eventually I joined the jackrabbit program, and then the Yukon Ski Team. My passion for skiing developed through high school and I decided to pursue my Olympic dream after graduating high school.

Emily Nishikawa

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When did you know that you were a gifted athlete? How did you decide to make the leap to professional skiing? How did that transition work?

Pretty normal high school experience. I had understanding teachers that helped my as I spent time on the road at ski races, but I was always sure to arrange ahead of time and make sure I completed the assignments I needed to while travelling.

Emily Nishikawa

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Did you always want to pursue university education?

Yes, university education was always important to me, and to be able to complete it in a flexible way that allowed me to work towards my athletic goals was a bonus.

Emily Nishikawa

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How did you learn about Athabasca University? What were your initial feelings?

I learned about Athabasca University through my sister-in-law. She completed her degree through AU, while skiing on the national team. I followed in her footsteps.

Emily Nishikawa

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When did you enroll with AU? Which courses are you taking with AU? Why?

I enrolled in 2007, right out of high school and am nearing the completion of my Bachelor of Arts degree now. It’s been a long road, but I am so grateful I have been able to take one or two courses at a time, while I travel the world competing for Canada.

Emily Nishikawa

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How has AU helped you achieve your education? What do you enjoy most about the framework of AU? What makes it different than other educational formats you’ve encountered?

I would not be able to ski at the level I have been and get my education without AU. It has allowed me to do all of my course work online from anywhere in the world. Some winters I spend 4 months at a time in Europe, competing on the world cup. AU has the flexibility to allow me to complete my courses on my own time, and allows for my travel schedule. As well, I always find it nice to have school to focus on as well as skiing. It adds a nice balance to my life.

Emily Nishikawa

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As an athlete, how do you approach a new skiing season, or are you always ‘in season’?

Our training season starts on May 1 every year. We do the majority of our training through the summer season with running, rollerskiing, strength training, and biking. If we are lucky, we get to find snow to ski on in the summer by going to New Zealand, or to glaciers. The race season runs from November to April where we are racing almost every weekend. In April we enjoy some downtime, to rest and recharge, but it usually involves trying new sports like surfing or ski touring!

Emily Nishikawa

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As a university student, how do you approach a new course?

I always enjoy starting a new course. Just as I approach my ski season, I tend to do a lot of planning at the beginning to make sure I have a good plan of how I will complete it and in what time frame. My time as an athlete has taught me a lot about time management and prioritizing what’s important.

Emily Nishikawa

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How do you balance?

School adds a nice balance to my life as an athlete.  If I have a bad day on skis, I can turn it around by doing well on an assignment. It gives me a chance to switch my brain onto a different task and not think about skiing all the time. Apart from skiing and school, I love to spend time with my friends and family and enjoy cooking delicious meals to share.

Emily Nishikawa

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What’s the most interesting place you’ve studied?

I’ve done a lot of studying on airplanes as I travel all over the world, as well as in hotel rooms where I spend my winters in Europe. The biggest challenge is finding reliable internet connections!

Emily Nishikawa

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What is your future plan for your skiing career?

I am working to be my very best, and find my full potential as a skier. It is a slow process, which can be frustrating, but also so rewarding. Working towards big goals takes so much time and commitment, but when they are realized, it is a feeling that is hard to forget.

Emily Nishikawa

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What do you hope to achieve educationally with AU?

I would like to finish my four year BA psychology major, in the near future.

Emily Nishikawa

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What are your plans after your professional skiing career?

I would like to continue my education and become a teacher. I love working with children and have learned a lot about inclusive education through my studies in AU that I have found very interesting.

Emily Nishikawa

Published:
  • November 26, 2018