Date posted: 20/10/2020

2020 Accounting Student of the Year Ellysia Oldsen on balancing study with sport

How can you apply learnings from another part of your life to your accounting studies? We speak to Ellysia Oldsen to find out.

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As every uni student knows, finding the right balance between work, life and study, can be difficult - but that hasn’t stopped 2020 Accounting Student of the Year award winner and elite athlete Ellysia Oldsen from trying.

Going for gold - in and out of the pool 

As an elite swimmer preparing for Olympic Games trials, Ellysia says her experiences of competing both nationally and internationally have taught her the importance of goal-setting and trying her best.

“Swimming’s a huge passion of mine, and it’s something that I’ve been doing for as long as I remember. It requires a lot of dedication, excellent time management and organisational skills as it is a big time commitment,” says Ellysia. 

Juggling around nine pool sessions, two gym sessions and a yoga class each week, Ellysia has learned how to not only be self-disciplined and “block out” distractions when it comes to training, but also how important it is to communicate when you are busy, and strive to be resilient in the face of challenges.

“There’s a lot of times in swimming where you might not be having the best session, and you might have done all this preparation and not performed quite as well as expected in a meet. Swimming has taught me how to pick myself up and bounce back the next day by reminding myself that it’s a new day, and that I have another opportunity to work hard to achieve my goals,” says Ellysia.

“It’s something that I’ve carried into uni too. When I am struggling with a subject, am a bit behind, or haven’t done as well in a test as expected - I try to learn from it, put it behind me and bounce back.”

Grasp every opportunity afforded to you, and even go beyond that by actively seeking out opportunities yourself because it definitely does pay off. Giving everything a go and putting your whole self into it will help you get the most out of the experience.
Ellysia Oldsen 2020 Accounting Student of the Year

Making a splash in the world of accounting 

Ellysia’s strong work ethic and commitment to excelling in her career were instrumental in winning her the Accounting Daily’s 2020 Accounting Student of the year award. She says submitting her award application not only resulted in industry recognition, but a confidence boost that motivated her to continue to reach her goals. 

“I’ve always been a big believer in giving anything and everything a go, because you never know what might happen. The idea of the award is to recognise a university student who’s demonstrated the most outstanding commitment to success in a future career through extracurricular activities and internships, so it was a huge honour to even be picked as a finalist,” Ellysia says. 

“My advice to other students is grasp every opportunity afforded to you, and even go beyond that by actively seeking out opportunities yourself because it definitely does pay off. Giving everything a go and putting your whole self into it will help you get the most out of the experience.”

Ellysia, is in her final semester of a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce double degree at the University of Adelaide. She’s active in university life as a member of student societies, volunteers as Peer Mentor for the Faculty of Professions and the Law School’s “Lex Salus” wellbeing program, is a CA student rep and has tested the waters in accounting internships at each of the Big 4 firms. 

“Volunteering is my break from study and swimming, so although I haven’t been able to attend any events as a CA student rep because of COVID-19, I have learnt so many things about CA and what they do in my training that I have been able to pass it on in my other roles on campus.” says Ellysia.  

“Interning at each of the Big 4 not only helped me discover what I enjoyed doing, but taught me about the importance of making changes to how I do things to balance my many commitments. For example, I had to miss squad training and find time to do my squad's sessions by myself.” 

Deep diving into every opportunity

Although Ellysia is committed to making her mark in the world of accounting, she says that it is important to never rule anything out. Her ultimate goal in the next year is to represent Australia at a major swim meet. So while Ellysia has recently secured a Graduate role at Deloitte, Deloitte has agreed to put her position on hold while she pursues her passion for swimming.

“With Olympic trials being pushed to next year, I will be using the whole of next year to just swim and see where that takes me. I didn’t realise how supportive Deloitte would be with me following my passion, so I was definitely blown away when my manager told me that the team will support me, and that I could start the graduate program the following year,” says Ellysia.

“With swimming being my main focus over the next year, I am still setting my goals and being ambitious in the accounting sphere. I’ve definitely learned to be very disciplined over the years, and believe that it is important to allocate enough time and focus to all the different aspects of my life. So in between swimming, and taking breaks to see family or friends, I hope to challenge myself outside of the sporting arena by completing the CA Program.”