At 18-years-old, Oxana Repina boasts one of the most impressive academic records you’re ever likely to come across, but hearing her talk about surfing, hiking, running marathons and visiting sub-Antarctic islands, you wouldn’t think she has any time for study at all. That’s what makes Oxana’s story unique; her ability to find a healthy work-life balance, while always maintaining a positive outlook and finding time to enjoy the little things in life.
“I’m pretty proud of the way I get to live my life,” Oxana says. “The things I'm able to achieve definitely… but most of all finding balance between everything and being able to enjoy the small moments.“
When she was in Year 12, Oxana completed a majority of her full Year 13 curriculum for which she received six scholarships, five of which were outstanding. These were across: Agriculture & Horticulture (1st in NZ), Earth and Space Science (1st in NZ), Biology (Outstanding), Chemistry (Outstanding), Geography (Outstanding), Statistics (Outstanding) and Physics. Her scholarships positioned her as 2nd overall in New Zealand. To make things even more impressive, the following year, while Oxana was completing Year 13, she was also acing her NZQA scholarship examination for which she received a Premier Award, one of the highest achievable awards in the New Zealand curriculum.
Currently, Oxana is studying a Bachelor of Science majoring in Environmental Science on a full scholarship at Sydney University and, on top of her own academic success, Oxana also tutors with Crimson Consulting, helping other students achieve their personal academic goals.
“With tutoring, it’s one thing to get good results yourself,” Oxana says, “but another to explain a subject well enough so someone else can understand it.”
Her passion for helping young people stems from her wish to help others achieve their own academic goals, but also to ease the anxiety and pressure many feel, from having to choose an education pathway that is ‘right' for them. She combats this with simple advice for anyone about to embark on their own academic journey;
“There is all that pressure - deciding what to do and then what university and then pretty much having the rest of your life mapped out … just follow what you enjoy, and that shouldn't lead you astray.”
And that’s exactly what Oxana has done. She loves the environment and always has, and even despite her myriad of educational successes, Oxana, above all else, wants to make a positive impact on our coastlines and waterways, reducing the impacts of climate change and pollution.
“Spending time outdoors hiking and surfing has given me an appreciation for the beauty of our environment, but also the threats facing it. And I’d like to do something about that, through science or possibly politics.”
Oxana’s love and compassion for the environment has not only inspired her education and career, but it has also inspired her extra-curricular activities and her positive outlook on life. She loves surfing, hiking, running, cycling swimming- anything that can put her in touch with the outdoors. She always makes sure she maintains a balance between nature and study. Now, during uni exam breaks she loves to go surfing at any number of Sydney’s premier beaches, and just last year, Oxana decided to run a full 42.195km Marathon;
“It was about 4 months of training,” she says, “there would be 3 short runs a week (up to 10km), a day of cycling and then one long run on a Sunday. The longest you’d run in training is 32km … the scenery was really cool and the support from everyone was amazing. It was a really good experience.”
Since she began following her dreams in environmental science, many opportunities have presented themselves to Oxana. Just last year, Oxana was selected to join an expedition to the sub-Antarctic islands, which are 450km south of New Zealand. There, as student photographer, she experienced nature in its purest form;
“We had albatross a metre away from us; and sea lions, too. We jumped into the Southern Ocean and it was 10 degrees Celsius. It was an amazing experience and the people on the trip make a really big difference as well … they are absolutely amazing.”
After her trip to the sub-Antarctic, Oxana also had the opportunity to travel to Russia to compete at the 2015 Geography Olympiad, where around 160 students from more than 40 countries answer a series of geography tests over five days. At the end of the competition only 13 students are awarded gold medals. Not only was Oxana in that Gold medal pool, she was the only female contestant to take home a gold medal!
Since her educational journey began, Oxana has learnt many life lessons, and her advice for anyone confused about their future is to do what they love and embrace the small moments
“… find a goal that makes you passionate, no matter how hard it is, that’s the stuff worth doing … once you start doing what you love, many opportunities open up to you.”
and Oxana has always allowed her love and passion for nature and the environment to shape her educational journey.