This blog has been on my mind for a while now. Throughout the summer, I’ve tried to write the first paragraph several times and allow my hands to articulate the rest of my thoughts on the keyboard. Every single time I got writer’s block, which led to frustration, and ultimately another finished box of Mike and Ike’s. What I now realize is that I was not ready to write on this because there were other experiences God was preparing me for.
Today, I am confident and excited to share why though it is important to be where your feet are, it’s more important to know who they belong to.
This summer, I had the opportunity to serve as a graduate intern in the Dean of Students Office at Coastal Carolina University. My purpose in this role was to help the Dean of Students Offices name the challenges and obstacles from sexual misconduct reporting within Coastal Carolina athletics and recommended practical and policy changes to help overcome these issues. Sounds straightforward and simple, right?
I first sought out to learn more about campus culture at CCU and how current outreach and programming is educating student-athletes on sexual misconduct. Using qualitative methodology, I spoke with 42 representatives from 27 unique institutions across 17 states. From these conversations, I sought to learn more about their Title IX reporting options, as well as outreach and programming designed for student-athletes and male-identified students.
Day after day, I wrote notes on half-sheets of computer paper and even wrote my ideas across three white boards, yet never felt fulfilled that the work I was doing was enough. Becoming frustrated with not knowing what to do, I spoke with one of my mentors and they told me to “relax and be where your feet are.” I humbly replied, “I am. I am very mindful of where I am and focused on today’s tasks.” What they said next, changed my life forever.
My mentor countered, “…but do you know who your feet belong to?”
A very introspective question triggered many thoughts, all leading to my daily prayer.
I am Tim Bryson, son of God.
I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.
This question reminded me that I am interning here ON PURPOSE and that the work I was doing was not for me to judge, because it was already done – on Earth, as it is already done in Heaven. J Working in sexual violence prevention can be emotionally taxing, especially if one does not take care of their holistic being. I cannot thank my village enough for supporting me and sharing ideas throughout this entire process. Special shout out to Peyton Rogers, Molly Peirano, Holly Lovern, Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands, and Clemson Athletics. (Yes, Clemson. They’re doing phenomenal and inspiring work on this issue!)
As of today, I completed my final presentation and submitted my 27-page (single-spaced) consulting report, including a SWOT analysis of the Dean of Students Office and recommendations to enhance sexual misconduct reporting within athletics. This internship challenged me, both personally and professionally, in ways I did not believe were possible. My top five Strengths have changed from Strategic, Futuristic, Ideation, Learner, and Command to Maximizer, Strategic, Futuristic, Self-Assurance, and Command. I have developed a professional network in several functional areas across the United States. I have been inspired by the work that is needed in this field.
Thank you so much Travis Overton allowing me to do this work at Coastal Carolina University. The Dean of Students staff and Title IX Coordinator is, without a doubt, one of the best teams in the country. Period. Their vision, responsiveness, and expertise is inimitable and they are poised to continue creating a diverse and dynamic student-centered learning environment.
Campus sexual assault currently exists, but it does not mean I will accept it.
Plan A is to inspire a college communities free of sexual violence.
Plan B is to make Plan A work.
Join me in this fight towards gender equity and violence prevention. If we want to make history, we will have to do historic things.
Encourage somebody to be great today!