Competitive Ice Skater works towards Online BS in Psychology at Drexel Online
Juggling schoolwork with your personal and professional life is a challenge, regardless of what industry you work in. But if you happen to be an internationally competitive, professional ice skater…well, things become a little more complicated. Just ask Carter Jones, an online student who’s spent the last few years studying for her BS in Psychology in between training sessions and competitions all over the world.
Jones has spent most of her life as a competitive ice dancer. When she was seven, she saw people skating on TV and was hooked. “I was like, ‘That looks cool, I want to try that!’” Jones remembered. It took a bit of convincing, but eventually Jones’s parents signed her up for lessons. When it became clear that she had talent, her coaches suggested that she look for opportunities outside of her small Virginia Beach skating community. Jones began commuting to a rink in Aston, Pennsylvania, eventually alternating between homeschooling and attending a high school in Delaware to be closer to her training site.
Though Jones skated competitively with a partner during high school, the two parted ways after she graduated. Thinking she would be able to attend college on campus, Jones was accepted at Drexel University. Soon after, however, she connected with a new partner and began competing again.
Competing on an international stage means a lot of travel, as well as demanding training sessions. Suddenly, attending college on campus was no longer an option. Jones deferred her Drexel acceptance and started taking classes online through another university, but quickly ran out of options. So she went back to her roots and began taking online classes through Drexel.
“I usually brought my schoolwork to the rink,” Jones said, explaining that she would do schoolwork during breaks in her training and at night. “I had to find the time. Whenever I had a gap I would always have a book in my purse or book bag. If someone was running late for a lesson and I had to wait 20 minutes, I could always read a few pages out of a textbook.”
For now, Jones has put her ice dancing career aside; though she and her current partner skate for Great Britain, Jones is not a British citizen and therefore can’t compete on its behalf in the Olympics. Instead, she’s focusing on her studies and doing some coaching on the side. Although she’s not traveling nearly as much anymore, she still finds that the convenience of online classes works better for her schedule.
“The online program has been really great for me. Even with not being a competitive figure skater now, I coach a lot, so it enables me to do my own schedule with coaching, and I can still get schoolwork done. I don’t need to worry about, ‘Oh, I can’t teach at this hour because I have a class to be at,’” Jones said.
Jones is on track to graduate next year, and plans to begin working towards a doctorate degree. Her goal is to become a clinical therapist. Having spent years seeing a therapist throughout her career, Jones wants to help others deal with the issues she’s had to tackle.
“When I started going through therapy, I felt that it had helped me so much in ways that nothing else could have. I felt that if this had helped me so much, if I can help someone as much as I’ve been helped, that would make me feel really good,” Jones said.