When Annika Karlsen says she is trying to calm down and not join any other clubs or organizations because she wants to stay committed to what she’s already doing, she’s not referring to one or two extracurricular activities.
Karlsen, the captain of the women’s tennis team at Weber State University, is currently a senior enrolled in 18 credit hours and seeking a double major in psychology and child and family studies. She is also the vice president of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee and a member of Psi Chi, which is the International Honor Society in Psychology.
The list isn’t over. She also volunteers at A Center for Grieving Children, does photography as a hobby and is fulfilling an internship with Career Athletes.
The assistant women’s tennis coach, Markay Mullen, chuckled at the idea of other students doing as much as Karlsen.
“I think it takes a special person to be able to do as much as Annika does,” Mullen said. “I honestly don’t believe that everybody can do it; I mean, she really is an exceptional human being. She’s involved in everything.”
Last summer, Karlsen was also a nanny for three young children. The children’s mother, Heather Holker, said in a phone interview that Karlsen is genuine and hard-working.
“I have no doubt that she will be tremendously successful in her field, because she is just so goal-oriented,” Holker said. “But she just will own anything that she takes on.”
One of the Holker children has a birthday coming up, and the entire party was planned around when “Aunt-ika” could come, because she was the first person on the little girl’s guest list.
Because of her schedule, Karlsen can’t be a nanny during the school year, but through her various organizations, she does volunteer work throughout the semester.
Karlsen said her mother writes medical textbooks and her father is an Olympic ski coach, so being as busy as she is seems normal in her family. She said she has always been involved in clubs and leadership positions in school and that she tries to give a 100 percent effort; if life gets too overwhelming, she has to cut something out, which she said is hard for her to do.
However, Karlsen said she keeps the tennis team and her education as her top priorities. She said tennis is her favorite part about being at WSU and that her tennis career will be what she’s most proud of when she graduates.
“I always wanted to play college tennis,” Karlsen said.
Mullen said Karlsen never lets the tennis team down.
“I think she understands the opportunity that she has here and understands that some people work their whole lives to get to the Division I level, and so she’s really taking that and taking advantage of it,” Mullen said.
The tennis captain said she feels fortunate for her opportunities. Playing tennis has allowed her to travel; sometimes she’s as close as Portland, but it’s taken her as far away as Norway.
However, she did say missing school is the most difficult part of tennis for her.
“I just think Weber is the best school ever; I love it here,” Karlsen said.
Karlsen said her dream is to attend graduate school right after graduating, and that she would like a career in marriage or relationship counseling.
“She’s done everything,” Mullen said. “And I really do honestly believe it takes a special person. Annika is that special person that can do it.”