By Stephanie DeSantis
For senior Dylan Ackerson, life at Sacred Heart University has been a challenging ride. Between juggling being both a nursing major and a Division I football player, he has had to learn and adjust to strict time management skills to adequately stay on top of his schedule.
Ackerson played football throughout high school, in Alabama, where he was born and raised.
His love for the sport was so strong that he knew he wanted to continue it in college.
“In high school I always dreamed about playing college football and I was willing to travel anywhere to do just that,” said Ackerson.
Following the recruitment and scholarship offer to Sacred Heart’s Division I football team ultimately convinced him to move all the way from Alabama to Connecticut..
Since the school was his only Division I offer, he felt compelled to come visit. After doing so, he loved the campus and coaches so much that he decided to commit.
As to whether or not Ackerson finds himself missing home in Alabama, he says he does more now that he’s older. He goes on to say this wasn’t always the case.
“When I first came to Connecticut, I was never homesick because I’ve always been the type to want to be out of the house,” said Ackerson.
Considering he lives so far away from home, the only times he is able to go home are winter and summer breaks. However, there were two summers he had spent at Sacred Heart to take classes, train for football, and work as part of campus operations.
Along with being a Division I athlete, Ackerson is also a nursing major at Sacred Heart. Not many students at this school pursue both football and nursing, but he has balanced both since his freshman year.
“I was hesitant at first because I had heard that it would be really difficult to do both football and nursing,” said Ackerson.”But I told myself I would just try it out and I’ve enjoyed the challenge and I have been happy so far.”
Ackerson’s interest in nursing came about in high school when his health science teacher thought it would be a good field for him to go into.
Balancing both football and nursing has its challenges. He has had to figure out how to manage his time in the most efficient way. Whether it be day to day, or planning out his whole semester, Ackerson puts a great deal of time into developing his schedule.
“I don’t have much time to relax during the day because I’m always either in class, practice, or studying. Football acts as my release because I can just go out there and have fun. School is the stressful part,” said Ackerson.
However, he admits that his time management skills have improved from his freshmen to senior year.
Ackerson hit a rough patch this past spring semester, where he became overwhelmed with football and nursing. He had a heavy course load with two clinicals, on top of practice and workouts. He would have to miss football practices in order to get his school work done on time.
“There have been times when I’ve questioned if I’m able to do both football and nursing,” said Ackerson.
Those who have helped him conquer this fear of failure are coach Cooke and coach Nofri, along with his nursing professors, Dr. Yost, Dr. Ferillo, and Professor Foito. Friends and family have also been a network of support.
What makes Ackerson’s busy schedule worth it, is looking forward to his future career in nursing.
“I plan on pursuing the pediatric field of nursing,” said Ackerson.
Until then, he is enjoying his senior year.
Although hectic with both nursing clinicals and football commitments, he is enthusiastic about his future.
“I’m excited to see what opportunities I have once I graduate.” says Ackerson.