By Kristen Keller for VolleyballMag.com
When it was time to stop playing volleyball, former Texas volleyball great Chloe Collins picked up a camera.
“I kind of felt like I reached a point where I was fulfilled enough with the sport and I got my due time out of it,” Collins said. “I put forth my body, my mind and everything. There were amazing opportunities out of it, but I just wanted to focus on myself.”
So the two-time All-American setter, who played professionally in Spain and Finland, went to London and enrolled at Goldsmiths, University of London, to study television journalism.
Collins, a product of Cypress, Texas, was an incredible high-jumping athlete at Texas. She’s just 5-foot-7, but that didn’t keep coach Jerritt Elliott from running a 5-1. Collins finished her career No. 4 on the all-time Texas assists list and led the Longhorns to the 2015 and 2016 NCAA national championship matches.
After college, she went to Gran Canaria in Spain for half of a season before heading to San Diego. She coached at Waves Volleyball Club before playing the next pro season in Finland.
“I was reflecting on what I wanted to do,” Collins said. “A goal for me was getting my master’s.”
And she decided to focus on her professional career outside of volleyball.
“I wanted to do something that I know, that not only I needed experience for, but something I enjoyed doing, and that was journalism.”
Collins researched journalism schools in the U.S., and then decided to make a big change.
When the volleyball world found out she was heading to southeast London last September, local clubs contacted her agent to see if they could get a chance to sign her. But that wasn’t an option.
But, she said, “Living overseas has been good for me.” She’s even grown her hair long, joking that now that she’s not an athlete it’s so much easier.
From her time in school, the effervescent Collins found a love for producing and editing, staying behind the scenes instead of in front of the camera. She hopes to be an editor at a broadcasting agency or become an editorial assistant.
She finished her individual documentary and currently is part of a team documentary on diabulimia.
What’s more, her passions go far beyond the volleyball court. Her love of politics and current affairs sparks a light for her career, along with her interests in fashion, lifestyle and beauty.
She is the only American in her class.
“We are all very similar in many ways, but the way we communicate is just very different,” Collins said. “It’s really great to learn from different people and see from the outside of the bubble we grow up in living in America.”
With a lot of her time spent in the classroom and learning about the ins and outs of a newsroom, Collins takes what she learned through volleyball and apply it to her future career.
“Being involved in a team sport has helped me tremendously,” Collins said. “Being in news, you have to work together with people, and I think volleyball helped me be comfortable with the uncomfortable.”
For many athletes, it’s hard to walk away from the sport that consumed much of their lives. But it’s important to know that there’s more to each person than just their sport.
Collins understands that, and tries to help other young volleyball players figure out when it’s time to leave the sport behind.
“It’s important to raise an awareness that volleyball is not our identity,” Collins said. “I know that volleyball will always be a part of me, and I love it for that, but you have to move on and keep the ball rolling.”
And for Collins, it’s a decision that she is happy with. She will finish her time at Goldsmiths in September.
“I always thought, ‘If I do go and do this, I can always go back,’ but I never felt that way,” Collins said. “To me, internally, I felt very content and OK with it.”
Follow Collins on Twitter: @ChloweeCollins