“Some things need to take time”
Chalmers student Jennifer Österlin works as a developer at engineering and IT consultancy Alten in Göteborg. She is an elite level Thai boxer with two Swedish gold medals, two European gold medals, one NM gold medal and one World Championship gold medal. As well as training sessions in the evening, Jennifer often has a morning session before work, when most of us are still snug in bed.
Combining university studies at Chalmers with elite level athletics might sound impossible, but Jennifer says all that’s needed is careful planning. When writing her doctor’s thesis, she also read a mathematics course at half-speed, trained for the Swedish Championships and worked in a bingo hall. At Chalmers she found students to assume a good deal of responsibility themselves and be able, to a certain extent, to manage their studies themselves. Many lectures are obligatory, but apart from these Jennifer was largely free to choose the time she spent focused on her studies.
For Jennifer, the choice of taking up Thai boxing took place mainly by chance. She wanted to do something physical, but mostly to try out something new and get some exercise. After three training sessions she was hooked and after two months decided to try and enter for the Swedish Championships. Three years later she took part in the Swedish Championship finals in Östersund. But this is something that defines Jennifer, her determination and ambition. At ten, she decided she would study at Chalmers and become a programmer. In just four years she has won most that can be won as a woman Thai boxer.
Why do you think you are so successful?
I wasn’t much good to start with. But when I find something I like I don’t give up.
Have you always had a winner’s mentality?
More or less. But trying to give 110 percent sometimes lands me in difficult situations. I does happen that I can ask too much of myself. Occasionally I ought to be able to accept something is good enough, that I don’t have to be best at everything.
What are you most proud about in your career?
World Championships gold in Russia, the day I got my Masters or when I signed an employment contract in the autumn 2012. Those three are more or less equal.
What qualities has Thai boxing brought to your studies and vice versa?
Perseverance wins. Things need to take time sometimes. When something takes time it doesn’t mean you’ve failed.
NAME: Jennifer Österlin
EDUCATION AT CHALMERS: Information Technology and MSc Interaction Design and Technologies
WORKING WITH: Web and software developer, Alten (formerly Xdin)