By Catherine O’Grady
Before his time on The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise, John Paul Jones spent his Thursday nights sitting in the Pryzbyla center eating chicken nuggets, fueling the obsession that would come to define him.
Jones was most recently seen this past Tuesday in the series finale of season 6 of Bachelor in Paradise, as well as season 15 of The Bachelorette, staring Hannah Brown, a beauty pageant queen from Alabama.
Jones, originally from Maryland, decided to go to Catholic U on a leap of faith, as his interest was piqued after learning his grandfather was an alumnus.
“I went to Odyssey Day and (professor of Entrepreneurship in the Busch School, Andreas) Widmer gave a speech and the program sounded very entrepreneurial-focused,” said Jones, explaining why he ultimately decided on Catholic. “It just kind of spoke to me. I found his speech very stimulating.”
Overall, Jones had a positive experience during his four years at Catholic and commented on how the community atmosphere served him well.
“Catholic has a great culture and it really was the best school for me from a social standpoint,” Jones said. “It served me well because I could bounce from group to group. I was friends with the lax bros, the theatre people, I was a gym bro and I was also an academic. I just got a great holistic experience at Catholic and I think it’s hard to find that anywhere else.“
Jones’s favorite memories were made on the fifth floor of Flather during his freshman year.
“I still keep in touch with all the guys from Flather,” Jones said. “It was just the epitome of living the dorm life. It was just a lot of fun. Everyone got along great— we were all like-minded people and just bro-ing out.”
Jones also praised his life changing opportunity to go on a mission trip to Jamaica with Campus Ministry and highly recommends the experience to current students. Jones also commented that during his time at Catholic, he enjoyed attending the 4 p.m. service in the crypt church of the Basilica and sometimes will still make an appearance.
As for changes he would like to see on campus, Jones encourages a more open-minded view.
“People are very cliquey and unwilling and move from their clique to another clique,” said Jones. “It can be a little bit of a closed-minded experience. It’d be nice to see more open mindedness.“
After his time at Catholic, Jones went on to become a financial analyst at 2U, a D.C.-based company focused on making higher education affordable in the digital age. Jones is very satisfied with his current role and the contribution he is making to society.
“Graduate education is the greatest driver in upward social mobility,” Jones said. “I’m contributing to that and I’m helping better society. [We are] taking every ethical means that we can to make education affordable to people and returning to our shareholders as well. It’s a stimulating mission to be a part of.”
However satisfied Jones is with his employment, he shared that after graduation, his job took over his life and he had less time to devote to his dating life, which ultimately led him to audition for The Bachelorette.
“The goal was to initially meet my wife at Catholic,” Jones said. “That didn’t happen. And after school, I didn’t really prioritize my dating life. I really struggled the first year out of college just to get my feet underneath me.”
It was Jones’s sisters who encouraged him to audition for The Bachelorette casting in Baltimore.
“The Bachelorette seemed like a great opportunity to allocate and exclusively hone in on potentially meeting someone,” Jones said. “It just seemed like a fun thing to do.”
Jones expressed that he and Hannah got along great but that they quickly realized there would never be a romantic connection between the two of them. After the outcome of The Bachelorette, Jones tried his luck on Bachelor in Paradise.
Jones went on to describe how stressful dating in the Paradise environment was. Whereas on The Bachelorette, there was comradery amongst the guys because of Hannah’s infrequent visits, in Paradise, everyone had to constantly invest in forming new relationships.
“You always have to be on and you have to be appealing all the time and it was stressful,” said Jones. “Somebody can come and start hitting on your girlfriend and its normal. It’s totally messed up, but it’s kinda the world it is. I would say Paradise is a lot more stressful because there are a lot more moving parts.”
While on Bachelor in Paradise, Jones got into an argument with Derek Peth, another show contestant. Both men were pursuing Tayshia Adams and it escalated on national TV. Not only was it a stressful experience, but Jones also shared how uncomfortable he is having to rewatch himself on national television months after filming.
“Seeing yourself on TV is completely cringeworthy,” Jones said. “It’s hard to watch. It’s definitely an ego buster. It’s brutal. I had a little bit of a meltdown and that was tough to watch and I took a lot of heat for it. But it was a growing experience. I don’t regret anything that I said to Derrick. It was all true, purely based in fact.”
Regardless of how much he’s grown in his experience in the Bachelor Nation, Jones said this will be the encounter he’ll have with the franchise.
“It was a great experience but I really don’t understand why if it didn’t work out once, I don’t understand why you would put yourself through that again,” Jones said.
At this moment, Jones has no reason to invest more time in the franchise, as he is currently in a relationship with Tayshia Adams, as revealed in the series finale. Jones and Adams had been dating in the past few weeks leading up to the dramatic conclusion of the series in which Adams broke up with Jones. After returning home, Adams flew to Maryland to pursue Jones and apologize for breaking up with him. The couple has been dating ever since.
Jones attributed the success of Bachelor Nation to the authenticity of the people.
“Just the fact that watching real people experience real emotions and face real challenges makes it appealing because it’s not scripted, it’s real.”
As for Jones’s iconic love of chicken nuggets, he said the best place to find them is Thursday nights in the Pryz.
“You can’t beat that,” said Jones. “It’s unlimited food. What’s better than that?”