For CSUN’s Ice Hockey goalie Ron Dierkes, 29, getting back to school and finishing proved to be a rewarding challenge that was met with a hockey puck.
Dierkes started his college career at Florida State University in 2000, majoring in creative writing. Unsure of which direction he should go, he dropped out of school in 2003.
After attending various community colleges back home in Pennsylvania, he began looking into playing on a hockey team. Four years later he followed his girlfriend out to Los Angeles to tryout for the CSUN hockey team and to manage his brother’s music band.
“I found the team online at a sports club,” he said. “I found the email for the coach and came out over the summer to practice unofficially.”
Realizing he didn’t understand much about the music business, Dierkes enrolled in the accounting program at CSUN, after making third goalie for the ice hockey team. He said accounting seemed to come naturally and was fairly easy to study.
Throughout his college career at CSUN, Dierkes took on a few fulltime jobs in the area. Recently, he was promoted as a regional auditor while working in human resources doing bookkeeping for The Odyssey, a restaurant in Granada Hills.
“This job is good to me since it’s flexible with my school and hockey schedules,” he said. “I enjoy it.”
On the ice, he states that hockey is a huge stress reliever and all the hard work that goes into the team, makes the games worthwhile. When he is on the ice, there is no time to think about work or school. There are only teammates, opponents and a black hockey puck in need of being guarded away from the net.
“(Being on the team)Makes me more proud to be associated with the school,” he said.”
Once he has his degree in hand he plans on becoming a certified public accountant and working with a firm. He is unsure whether he will stay in California or relocate.
Playing hockey for the university has aided in Dierkes’ focus and dedication to achieving an accounting degree. The biggest challenge to receiving a degree has been finding time to study and stacking too many things on his plate. Although there may be much to balance, Dierkes remains in control of what is before him.
Looking back on his bumpy college road, he said his greatest accomplishment had nothing to do with his degree. The hockey team placing 11 out of 140 teams at nationals was his major highlight and helped propel him further both on and off the ice.
Dierkes will graduate this summer with a degree in accounting after 11 years of attending college. Not only will he have his degree and a job that brings enjoyment, he will be taking something else which gives a much deeper satisfaction: friendship.
“Every member of the team is a great friend and being able to carry on those friendships is the biggest reward,” Dierkes said.