Learner and Leader
Tyler Tillery ’23 wondered how well he would transition to college life at Immaculata. He went to a good high school—Gerstell Academy in Maryland—so he wasn’t worried about adjusting academically. But he was uncertain how he would adapt to more independence, more free time and being away from his family. “It was new—I could really do what I wanted, without anyone questioning me at all,” he remembers.
To make sure he used his newfound freedom well, Tyler set out to learn as much as he could from his upperclassmen teammates. “Managing my time was a big thing I learned from the older guys—managing both academics and athletics,” Tyler says.
He looked up to a senior student-athlete and began working out with him, observing him play and mentor other younger players. “He showed me the ropes and helped me develop my skills,” Tyler comments. “He practiced what he preached—every day, he worked hard on the court. He was also very good academically,” Tyler recalls. Thanks to that good example, Tyler has learned to stay on top of his work and even finish it early so he has more time on weekends to relax.
Now a sophomore, Tyler has grown into a leader and is one of the basketball team’s captains, who are charged with keeping their teammates accountable.
“Always reach out if you need help,” Tyler advises. “There will be somebody who can help—a student, a professor, the Sisters. I love the Sisters; they always have a smile on their faces. There’s a great support system here at Immaculata.”
Tyler leaned on that support system when he took a notoriously challenging anatomy and physiology class. “I would talk to my friends in the class, and we would study together, create study guides for each other and help each other out,” Tyler says. “It was hard, but talking with people helped me.”
Tyler also sought help after he sprained his ankle last year, landing him with crutches. Immaculata’s athletic trainers helped him recover and strengthen his ankle to prevent further injuries. As an exercise science major, he had been considering a career in physical therapy, but after learning more, he decided that athletic training would be a better fit for him.
“I would like to work either in a high school or a college with teens to young adults, mainly because of the experiences I’ve had with my athletic trainers,” remarks Tyler. “Beyond making sure athletes can perform in their sport, I want to get to know them. Learning about other people and building those connections is something I really want to do.”