Episode 6 │That Extra Push (OXFORD)
Updated: May 4
"Even now, that's pretty much been the story of my life. Different folks have just come in during different chapters of my life to give me that extra push." (Patrick, Episode 6)
Another cousin, the first dude guest, the first HBCU guest, all wrapped in one! Of my maternal cousins, Patrick Bryant (known by me and his other loved ones as Jaqua, known by others as Rev. Dr. Patrick J. Bryant) is the eldest in my generation. He claims to not have been the most scholarly person in high school or undergrad, yet since graduating from high school he's been immersed in his studies for 14 years straight. In fact, he just completed his PhD in theology. Born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, he's now a pastor, husband, and father based in Columbia, South Carolina.
Jaqua first moved to South Carolina as an undergraduate student studying business at Benedict College, an HBCU (historically black college or university). Living in the honors dorm, during his senior year he'd passed by a poster advertising the opportunity to study at the University of Oxford many times, but never took it seriously. He didn't think it was real, and had never envisioned himself going to England anyway. But after learning from his advisor that he'd completed most of his credits and wouldn't be doing much during his last semester anyway, both that advisor and the dean of business encouraged Jaqua to apply. He did, still not thinking much of it... and he got accepted! He embarked in January 2008 as the first person in Benedict College's history to study at Oxford.
Just the right people, stepping in at just the right time.
He took mostly business courses, but also a couple theology electives while there. When he wasn't studying or hanging around the city of Oxford, he spent a lot of time exploring London and even traveled to Portugal. I've always looked up to my cousin, but what was most remarkable to me were the big and small miracles that propelled him forward. A local mentor in Louisville helped him get a full ride to Benedict. When he lost his wallet upon returning to Oxford from Portugal, a kind stranger returned it to him completely in tact. When he had trouble ordering at a London pizza restaurant that was run by French people, another customer explained to him that he needed to try in French so that he could be served. Just the right people, stepping in at just the right time. Jaqua can be found on Facebook (Patrick Bryant). Same goes for his church (Calvary Baptist Church at Blythewood SC).
Be sure to listen to this episode, "That Extra Push (OXFORD)" for more! And don't forget to check out the resource list below!
Danielle G. is the creator, host, and producer of Young, Gifted and Abroad. You can find her other writings at DeelaSees.com.