As we continue with our Alumni Spotlight project we are diving in with 2017 graduate and Dickinson swimming alumna Emily Houser. Emily discusses her time here at Dickinson and how balance helped her find success both in the pool but even more importantly out of it.
Emily grew up in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania and got into swimming at an early age when she was swimming for her summer swim team. "It was something that I just really liked to do," Emily said. "I was pretty good at it, so I just decided to keep doing it, and it brought me to Upper Dublin High School where I swam all four years."
When it came time to select the place where she would spend the next four years of her life, Emily already had the inside track into the Centennial Conference. "My sister ended up going to Gettysburg and swimming for the Bullets," Emily stated. "I knew about the Centennial Conference and I knew about the schools."
When it came down to it, there were two major factors that helped Dickinson standout above all the rest for Emily, the math program and then head coach Paul Richards or as she simply called him, "coach." "I sat with him and I just knew right away that this was meant to be," Emily said.
During her four years at Dickinson Emily realized that everything Coach Richards had mentioned to her on that visit, he followed through on. His calmness, his approach, his understanding, but above all his willingness to help his athletes outside of the pool. "I could come to him and say 'I'm really stressed, I have this test' and he was super easy to work with," Emily stated. "He was a really great mentor and I never left his office feeling worse than when I sat down."
The biggest lesson though that Emily learned during her four years from Coach Richards was balance. "It was the biggest lesson of what he taught us," Emily said. "You aren't just a swimmer, you're not just an athlete, you're not just a student. There is so much that goes into being a good student-athlete, college student, but most importantly a good person."
Emily has taken those lessons to heart and applies them each and every day to her professional career. Working as a software engineer at Vanguard, Emily has been able to combine her interest of mathematics and a new interest she discovered at Dickinson, computer science. "It's a lot of hard work, any job is and any transition out of college is," Emily said. "I talk about it a lot but you need a balance. You need to figure out how to plan your day and also be able to have a life and enjoy yourself outside of your career. Having that balance and hard work ethic has really helped me throughout the first few years of my career."
When she reflects back, Emily recalled that Dickinson gave her so much from great teammates, to a new-found passion, a great program to compete for, a great education, but most importantly great friends. It was having the ability to balance all of those things that made her experience here so special and memorable. "I wouldn't be in the career and life that I am in right now if it weren't for that education," Emily stated. "The small close-knit lifestyle at Dickinson let you expand upon your social life and I was able to find the greatest group of friends that I am still super close with today. A small school lets you foster multiple relationships with people from all different groups and I am really grateful for that."
To view Emily's entire interview, click on the video below.