Hello, my name is Tim Bryson and I am the Program Director for Student-Athlete Career Development at the University of Maryland.
I am also a first-year doctoral student in the Student Affairs program at UMD.
If I earned $1 for every time my mama told me that I was going to college, I would be close to paying off all of my students loans. Education has always been the priority in the Bryson household and not just because a white man referred to education as “the great equalizer.” (We will unpack that later.) Our education is something that no one can ever take away from us and as a Black man, this is extremely important to me. When my mama dropped her oldest child off at Coastal Carolina University, she cried and stocked my cabinet with snacks for the Fall 2012 semester before leaving me with her unapologetic wisdom:
“Timothy, I did my job to get you here. I don’t care if you sit under an oak tree and smoke weed all day. This (your college experience) is yours to either manifest or to fuck up.”
Spoiler alert! I didn’t fuck up.
Over the last 9 years, I can honestly say that I did my part to manifest all that my mama and grandma had prayed for me. I have earned both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree but it was my experiences outside of the classroom where I learned the most.
During my time as a student, I learned that pathways to higher education are unjust, particularly for students from under-served and under-resourced communities.
I have also learned that the educational experience of college athletes is not always paramount, contrary to the NCAA’s mission statement. As a result, I believe there is a divide between student affairs and college athletics because of an unwillingness to learn from and work with one another.
As a university employee, I am becoming increasingly aware of how institutional and federal policies are having disparate impacts on student career readiness, especially for international students and students with disabilities.
So, I am going back to school.
My current research interests center on student-athlete career readiness, international student success, and mentorship for communities of color. I am sure these interests will evolve over the next 5 years, but my purpose will not. I am pursuing a Ph.D. because I am committed to creating equitable environments for all students to identify their passions, inspire vision, and walk in their purpose.
As I wrote in my personal statement, “I am ready to harness my education to dismantle unjust systems and discriminatory practices to liberate all student communities.”
Sure, life is not fair. But as someone who has been privileged to benefit from higher education, I believe I have a responsibility to help increase access and opportunity for more students to earn their college degree and pursue their evolving career goals. And the marathon continues at the Benjamin Building in College Park, Maryland.
For the last 6 years, I have been speaking to existence this very moment. Yet, I can count on multiple hands how many times I almost talked myself out of acting on what God has given me and has placed in my heart. Man made excuses such as, “I am not smart enough” and “I am done with school” almost derailed me from walking in my own purpose. But this is my season to succeed.
This celebratory announcement is only the beginning.
I know this journey is going to challenge and stretch me in ways that I never imagined. I am also confident that my academic advisor, work supervisor, and personal village will support me in becoming the scholar and human I am destined to be. I have heard several terror stories about pursuing a Ph.D. but I have also witnessed firsthand scholars like Dr. Antonio Duran thrive throughout their entire Ph.D. journey.
Nevertheless, my experience will be my experience.
Be sure to catch me at your local DMV brewery reading articles, writing papers, and procrastinating. I am always accepting CashApp ($TimBryson) and Venmo (@TimBryson) donations to try the newest IPAs!
Most importantly, thank you to every single person who has listened to me talk about my passions (for hours and hours) and has given this young kid from Ohio an opportunity to pursue his dreams.
This journey is mine, but it is for us.
Classes start late August. Until then, let’s celebrate! Who wants a tequila shot!?
Encourage somebody to be great today!
Future Dr. Tim