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Crushing a Dive: Nursing Student-Athlete Nick Jubilee Talks Time, Goals and Inspiring the Next Generation

Nick Jubilee diving

“What I love about my sport is the feeling of freedom in the air, and what it feels like going in the water when you absolutely crush a dive,”  says sophomore Nicholas Jubilee.

The nursing student from Corning, New York (the state where he was named Boy’s Swimming and Diving Athlete of the Year by USA Today in his senior year of high school), is a Division 1 athlete on Villanova’s Men’s Swimming and Diving team. In this interview, Nick - a Villanova Presidential Scholar - is candid about challenges, goals and what it takes to balance two passions.

Thanks to Nick for sharing his answers with classmate Lauren Casimiro for this story. 




I think that what I love about my sport is the feeling of freedom in the air, and what it feels like going in the water when you absolutely crush a dive. As soon as I jump off the diving board, the only thing that matters for the next one to two seconds is the dive. Everything that is stressing me out just disappears for a bit and I’m just focused and doing the best dive that I possibly can. When I started diving, I really enjoyed the feeling of just everything disappearing when you jump off the board, but over the past few years I have really grown to love this feeling. In diving, whenever you hit the water, you kind of automatically know how the entry was just based of feeling. Whenever I am in practice or a meet and I do my dive, and I make little to no splash it just feels great. The water just feels really smooth yet firm, and it feels like you’re just sliding through the water like butter.


I think that the biggest thing that would surprise people about diving is the mental aspect of the sport. I think most people think diving is not crazy hard, but in my opinion, diving is 80% mental and 20% physical. Not everybody can jump of a 10-meter platform or hurl themselves off an aluminum board and try and make a small splash. For me, I am constantly trying to shut my mind off during practice and at meets. I tend to over think things and that can make practice, or a meet, go south in just a few minutes. So just trying to stay mentally tough and trusting and believing in yourself that you know how to do the dive and that you won’t get hurt is super hard sometimes. When I first started diving, one thing that my coach would tell me and my teammates every day is that we need to always trust ourselves because even if our minds are scared of the dive, our bodies know how to do the dive and muscle memory will take over.



I would say that in terms of my personal accomplishments overall I am super proud of myself. When I started diving about five years ago it was kind of as a joke and just to try something new. I remember the first day of practice I hated it so much; I was cold, wet, miserable, and scared the whole time. If it wasn’t for my mom making me go back the second day to give diving another try, I can wholeheartedly say that I would probably not be a division 1 Athlete today. If it was my first day of diving and someone came up to me and told them that I would be the section recordholder back home, ranked top 3 in the state my senior year, be two-time sectional champion, a division 1 athlete, and be named Boy’s Swimming and Diving Athlete of the Year in New York by USA Today in my senior year I would have laughed in their face and called them stupid and delusional.



The time commitment is pretty intense. I practice around 15 hours a week and I am also in a bunch of extracurriculars such as 13%, MSNO, The Superlative, the FCN Ambassador Program just to name a few. So trying to balancing all these things along with school is pretty stressful. In a normal week I lift Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 6:00-7:00 am; I dive Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 8:30-11:00 am; I have conditioning on Tuesday from 6:30-7:30 am and on Saturday from 7:00-8:00 am. This is already a lot of time, but this doesn’t even include the weekly team meetings or my appointments with the athletic trainer. On average, I would say that every week I spend anywhere between 15-17 hours a week in Jake Nevin. Trying to balance everything is definitely hard but it is super doable; I just have to prioritize really well and make sure that when I sit down to do work, I am getting everything done as fast and efficiently as possible.

Nick Jubilee


I would say that the two biggest characteristics that someone needs to be a successful nursing-student athlete is good time-management skills and knowing when to say no. I say that time management is important as a nursing-student athlete because nursing is already such a time-consuming major itself, but when you add in being an athlete it’s like working two full time jobs. Knowing how to manage schoolwork, and athletics, and a social life is a hard adjustment and even as a sophomore I’m still trying to figure it out. It’s hard practicing 15 hours a week, having two tests, and making sure that I’m able to see my friends and take care of myself. I feel like it’s easy to get burned out as a nursing student-athlete which is also why I think it is crucial to know when and how to say no. At college there are always events going on, people are always going out to dinner and hanging out, but the reality is that sometimes you can’t do those things because you need to study, or you have a meet or practice. Sometimes I say no to hanging out with my friends or going to dinner with them because I am tired; not physically, but mentally tired. I struggle with anxiety and depression and sometimes I just have to say no so I can take care of myself, and I feel like this should be normalized. Are there times where I want to go out and hang out? Yes, absolutely, and when I feel like going out I always do and I have a blast. But if I know that I have a lot of things to do in the next few days or I am just burnt out, I always say no. Sometimes it is okay to be selfish and put yourself first, and as a student athlete knowing when and how to take care of yourself is one of the most important things in my opinion.



I think that my biggest challenge is time management. I am super involved on campus, and I love to talk, and I get distracted super easy. So sometimes I fall behind with the things that I wanted to do on a certain day. I always eventually get caught back up, but sometimes it just feels like I am in a constant state of catching up on my work instead of feeling like I am on top of everything.



As an athlete I find inspiration in the fact that there are not that many Black Divers around the country that compete at this level. Swimming and Diving are historically known to lack diversity. So for me, I always push myself knowing that I am helping to break stereotypes and barriers. I also want to inspire Black children and show them that they can do anything that they want to do. I want to show them that if they want to swim, they can swim; I want to show them that if they want to dive, they can dive. I want to inspire these kids and let them know that all their goals are tangible with enough hard work. 



With my nursing career I honestly don’t really know what I want to do. I have the big picture down but there are still small details that are missing. I know that my long-term goal is to ultimately become a CRNA, and maybe even teach when I’m older. But I also think that I might want to get an MPH or even an MBA before becoming a CRNA. This past summer I did a summer program called SHPEP at Columbia University and we met the Director and Associate Director of the CRNA program. Just hearing them talk about the profession and seeing the joy they had really just made everything click for me. After graduation my goal is to start on a med/surg unit and then transfer to ICU. initially I wanted to go directly into ICU, but my sister is a nurse and I talk to her about her experiences as a nurse. She told me that starting on a med/surg unit and transferring is a good idea because she calls ICU “its own beast” and says that for the new grads she works with it just overwhelms them. I had never really thought about teaching until this year, because lab is always a lot of fun and just hearing stories and tips and tricks from my professors always brightens my day. But the more I think about teaching later in life, the more it seems to make sense in my head. I would want to teach because I would want to give back to the next generations of nurses, and especially nurses of color. 



My advice for an incoming nursing student-athlete is that you are more than capable to be in the Villanova Nursing Program, and a Villanova Student Athlete. Nursing is a hard major, and I feel like it is really easy to feel stupid and not worthy, but you made it into this program. The college of nursing is the most competitive college on campus; so that means that admissions read your essays and saw your drive and passion and decided that you have what it takes to become a Villanova Nurse. Anybody can fill out an excel spread sheet or fill out some equations and write a paper. But not everybody can be a nurse; not everybody can work a 12-hour shift constantly running around making sure your patients are okay; not everybody is able to work in healthcare and advocate for people; not everybody is able to work with terminally ill patients and make them comfortable. But as a Villanova nurse, you are capable of all these things and more. So always keep your head up and affirm yourself everyday by saying “I am smart, I deserve to be here, and I will make an amazing nurse someday.”