WHILE HER dreams of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are temporarily on hold, professional boxer Caitlin Parker has started to think about her life after boxing.

Studying a Diploma of Sport Coaching and Development at the Carlton College of Sport, Parker is combining her passion for sport while also gaining a tertiary education.

“When I found out the Olympics had been postponed, I was wanting additional purpose in my life after boxing. I had always thought that boxing needed to be my full focus for the past seven years, but I got home and realised I needed to do something,” Parker said.

“My motivation was really to do the course I am doing, which is the Diploma of Sport Coaching and Development through Carlton College and La Trobe University. My goal is to improve my knowledge in a field that I am so passionate about and involved in. I think it will help build my boxing career as well – they go hand in hand.”

Parker has come a long way since her first boxing fight at the age of 13. It was an unconventional start to her career, with her first fight against a significantly older opponent.

“My first fight was against a 25-year-old because I was so big for my age. I was quite strong, so my raw ability turned into technique and through working with the Australian team, I have been able to develop a lot of skill and boxing IQ,” Parker said.

 

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The raw emotion of qualifying for the Olympic Games. I live for moments like this.

A post shared by Caitlin Parker (@caityparkerr) on

Having qualified for the 2020 Olympics earlier this year, Parker was set to compete in Tokyo in July. Now, with the Olympics on hold until 2021, Parker is juggling her training with study.

“The La Trobe staff are really great and they are really motivating me to study in between my training sessions. I am up in Queensland at the moment and back into training two to three times per day but, it is working out well. I’m really enjoying the course and the teachers are great. I am getting to interact with my peers as well, even though it is on Zoom. I would not have thought I would be able to make friends through Zoom, but I am still getting to know people!”

Parker found out about the Carlton College of Sport through her involvement with the La Trobe University Elite Athlete Program, and after enrolling, she hasn’t looked back.

“I got in touch with a careers practitioner who brought up La Trobe as an option and I wanted to look into a Bachelor of Health Sciences. Then I realised I needed to find another way in because I couldn’t just jump straight into a bachelor’s degree without having studied for a while. We ended up finding the Carlton College diploma and everything fell into alignment, it was the perfect option for me and exactly what I want to do,” she said

“I finally feel like I have activated my brain and I am thinking so much more. I can relate the stuff I am learning back to my own sport and my own career – it gives me something to look forward to in the future. I know now that I have something to fall back on after my boxing career, whatever the circumstances.

“For any other athletes who are looking to combine their sport with study, I would recommend finding something that you’re passionate about when it comes to choosing a field of study and work towards another goal.”

If you are an athlete looking for a career after sport, learn more about the Carlton College of Sport courses and the Elite Athlete Program through La Trobe University.