Meet the students: David Christensen
by Vicki Heisser |
When asked about how he ended up in Valdez, Alaska, outdoor leadership student David Christensen quickly replied, “I am here because of my wife, Asia. If it weren’t for her, I would not have been able to come.” For Christensen, who learned about PWSC on Instagram, coming to Alaska was contingent upon his wife agreeing to make the move from California..
He shared, “I actually discovered Prince William Sound College through an Instagram ad when I was scrolling through one day. As soon as I graduated high school, I went straight to work. I did not go to college because I didn't want to go to college and spend money before I knew what I wanted to do. So, I worked. And I was at a point in my life where I was really looking for some change and just happenstance came across this college.”
For both David and Asia, moving to Alaska was a chance for a fresh start. With the pandemic, David lost his job and moved from Ventura, California, back to his hometown of Taft, California. Asia, because of her job, remained in Ventura. Feeling the stressors of her job and living situation she was open to a move. She explained, “It was very difficult to find a place to live. So, I was bouncing from friend's houses to Airbnbs, hotels, and eventually I was able to get a room for rent, but it was only temporary, so that put a timeline on my job, which absolutely stressed me out. That was the peak moment when we decided to come out here.” Now that they are here in Alaska, they are both glad they made this decision.
As David explained, “I will say, my first impression of Alaska, I fell in love with it immediately. I think my very first thought was, ‘Oh my gosh, it's not as cold as I expected.’ The biggest misconception of Alaska is that every day is negative 65 degrees, and that there's penguins. It is the complete opposite in terms of setting than where we're coming from.” Asia had a similar feeling. “As far as like, oh my gosh, looking around, it was awesome...seeing snowy, tall mountains was awesome. It was breathtaking. I've been enjoying my time a lot.”
While David and Asia are enjoying Alaska, David is also busy taking his courses and Asia is now working remotely. David shared, “I'm in the Recreation Program Planning and Evaluation class and the Leadership in Initiative Activities class. I'm in crevasse rescue, mountaineering, winter camping, and the Wilderness First Responder classes.”
As David is working on his degree, Asia is working remotely as a social media coordinator for a travel company and creating skincare and cosmetic products for her own company, “Alchemist Asia.” For the Christensens, moving to Alaska has and continues to be an exciting adventure.