Success Follows Ashley Jackson
For someone who has excelled at everything she’s done to this point, Jackson however, is still finding time to learn both on the court, in the classroom, and as a person, as she spends her first year as a student and member of the women’s basketball team at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.
“I’ve learned lots on the court this year, especially from the experienced players on my team,” said Jackson of her rookie season with the Dalhousie Tigers. “I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is that when you move up into higher levels, paying attention to each detail becomes more important. In high school where it might be ok to forget to pass fake once in a while before passing, in university you’ll get the ball stolen every time. I’ve really just had to be much more aware and focused on the details.”
Details have always been a strength of Jackson, graduating from John McGregor Secondary School last year with more than a 99% average, earning herself a Chancellors Scholarship to study Medical Science at Dalhousie. She also won the prestigious Dr. Jack Parry Award as Chatham-Kent’s top female student-athlete, and more recently was voted as the Chatham-Kent Sports Network’s 2016 female athlete of the year.
Despite this success, Jackson continues to learn and improve where she can, which in terms of her moving roughly 2000km from home, involved a slight adjustment off the court and out of the classroom.
“My biggest learning experience was just learning how to manage on my own,” explained Jackson of the transition to life in Halifax, Nova Scotia. “Because Chatham is such a small town, you can go anywhere and see a familiar face. In Halifax, I didn’t know anybody but my teammates and my family wasn’t there to support me so I really just had to learn how to make it through on my own and adjust to so many different things without my support system back home.”
The adjustments also came on the court, and in her time management. Used to playing for the JUEL’s London Ramblers, and last year competing with JMSS’ senior boys basketball team, balance has always been part of Jackson’s lifestyle, but at the University level, that balance is even more of a focus.
“Playing university basketball is a completely different experience than playing high school or club, but with the help of my teammates and my coaches, I have been able to adjust pretty well,” explained Jackson.
“It’s definitely been challenging trying to balance my school work and being a varsity athlete, but I think that playing basketball has really taught me how to be efficient with my time. I’m glad to say that my marks have stayed pretty consistent with my high school marks, so overall I would say I’ve learned to balance everything pretty well.”
While she still has several years remaining in her playing, and academic career, Jackson is trying to enjoy each moment, and she recognizes in a year filled with so many accolades, that she should never overlook the achievement of a goal many athletes never reach.
“It’s been an unbelievable experience playing at Dalhousie. I remember my first game was so surreal because it was like I was achieving a goal I had been working towards for so long.”