When most students walk across the stage at convocation, their next goal is getting into the workforce.
But civil engineering grad Sarah Boudens, who is a whitewater slalom athlete, will spend the next two years competing around the globe in an effort to secure a spot on the Canadian 2012 Olympic team.
“I wrote my last exam and I was gone,” she laughs. “Now it’s time to push for London.”
She qualified for the Beijing 2008 Olympics and took time off from her studies to participate. She was eliminated in the qualifying round of her event at those Games and returned to Carleton as a full-time student.
While pursuing her studies in civil engineering, she continued to train and managed to balance both her academic life and her training.
“You don’t get the proper rest you need but you have to suck it up and accept it,” she says.
While most athletes get their degrees later in life, it was important for her to finish her degree early.
“Injury happens so often and I feel so much better knowing that I have a degree,” she adds. “Nobody can take that away from me.”
Boudens spent the month of May in Whistler, B.C. competing to gain a spot on the 2010 national team.
At the end of May, she moved to the U.K. to continue her training.
“I’m moving to be closer to competitors in Europe and there are better training venues,” she says.
She’s happy she can fall back on her degree in the event she can’t compete in 2012 and would like to work in municipal infrastructure projects.
Boudens won’t be able to attend the June convocation ceremony but she is grateful for the degree she received from Carleton. She believes she wouldn’t have finished her degree if it hadn’t been for the strong support of her engineering professors, who accommodated her schedule.
“I’m so, so thankful to my professors,” she says. “I’m really happy with the help I received from Carleton.”