Where are They Now?: Alumni Spotlight
Victoria Bryant is a Temple native. She joined the military after high school, and when she completed her service, she was a single mother looking for something to grow her. She found it in Temple College (TC). She began attending classes at TC in 1996 as a marketing major. She was a part of the Single Parents Displaced Homemakers. Here she found out how to express herself, how to manage her time, and how best to multitask.
She would change her major to criminal justice, before changing again and graduating with her associate’s degree in Business Management. After graduation, she took several jobs before applying for a position at Garden Estates in Temple in 2004. She did not get the position she applied for, but they offered her a higher position with their sister organization in Round Rock. Victoria up-rooted herself and her son and made the move to Round Rock. Then in 2013 Victoria had the opportunity to move back to Temple, this time as the Executive Director of Garden Estates.
Q & A with Victoria Bryant:
Do you feel like you got more than an education from Temple College?
“I feel like … this is probably going to sound very cliché and scripted, but I received a life from Temple College. Not being an overly outgoing person, being in those programs in a community setting, where it’s smaller, more intimate, you still get an excellent education, but you have accessibility to your professors, to the programs, to college life itself. And because I did it differently, I went to the military and then went to college, even though I went to Temple College, I didn’t miss out on a college education. I got a college education. It was just in a smaller setting, and for someone coming from a small town, that was perfect for me. I was able to grow and learn. So it wasn’t just about getting a degree, it was about the relationships I formed.”
What are some of your major accomplishments you have achieved since you graduated from Temple College?
“I have been with the same company for almost 10 years now, and I have been promoted twice. Some probably don’t see this as an accomplishment, I have still been able to be a single mom, raising a child by myself, and still being able to provide for him very well, because of Temple College. Some of the same things that were instilled in me, I have been able to instill into my son.”
What advice would you give someone thinking about attending Temple College?
“Anyone who is looking for quality education, looking for a sense of belonging, looking to be able to provide for themselves, to learn invaluable things in life is looking for Temple College. Like is said, it’s not just that place where you can get a degree, it’s a place where you can truly find yourself and be assured enough to go out there, and put yourself out there and get what you want. I honestly don’t think I would be able to do that without TC. Some people think, ‘well it’s only a two year degree from a community college,’ but it’s a quality education. You can’t beat that. So yeah, anyone who is looking to improve themselves, go to Temple College.”
What is your message to the donors to the Temple College Foundation?
“I can honestly say, that without the program, without the donations, anyone who is going through any of the programs TC offers now, we wouldn’t have been able to do. It is a very, very worthy cause. It is changing lives. It’s money well spent. It doesn’t go to waste, I can assure you. Nothing is given to us, we have to work hard for it, and I appreciate that. You have to work just as hard at Temple College as you do at a major university, and you still get that quality education. Without the support, without the funds, without, the programs it wouldn’t be possible for people like myself to continue raising a child alone, continue having that quality education, and have those professors that helped me along.”
What does the community need to know about Temple College?
“People in the community need know that it’s more than just an education. I know I keep saying that, but that’s what it comes down to. You gain confidence, you gain respect for yourself and others, you gain knowledge and experience, and it ultimately is a benefit for everyone. I don’t know how many times I can say it, but it’s not only about the degree program. Ultimately that is everyone’s goal when they go to Temple College, but Temple College is more than a place to get a degree. It’s a place where you get that sense of purpose.”
What do you think your life would have been like if TC wasn’t here?
“When I was kid, I was into sports. And you know sometimes as a kid you do the bare minimum just so you can play sports. I chose the military, did well in the military and I loved that experience, but after high school I didn’t think I was smart enough to be in college or that I wanted to go to college. Temple College made it where I knew that I belonged, and I knew that I could do it. From that very first meeting where we talked about what my degree plan was going to be, the classes I needed to take, I figured out what I needed to do. If I had not gone to Temple College, I honestly hate to think about where I would be. I wouldn’t be in the position I am in now. I am an executive director of a senior housing community, and all of those fundamental thing I gained from Temple College helped me to get where I am.”
What did you feel as you walked across that stage and knew you had completed?
“The biggest thing was watching my son’s face when I did get my degree. Everything in my life was centered around him. That was a big sense of accomplishment that I could share with him, and he could see that. I felt like I could do anything. The classes weren’t always easy, but there was always that support there. From the professors, to tutoring, and my fellow students I could reach out to them and bounce ideas and ask questions. I felt like it helped me to establish myself as someone who made it.”
On the difficult days, how did you motivate yourself to keep going?
“I don’t remember a day that I skipped class. I kept looking at how much time, energy, and effort the instructors where putting in for me, and that kept me going. I also didn’t want to let anyone down, especially if we were working on a group project or something. So I never wanted to miss, and TC was fun. It wasn’t easy but it was fun, it was enjoyable. The classes were close so I didn’t have to walk miles and miles across campus to get from one class to another. It made it very easy and not strenuous to try and find your route from one area to another. I think that the motivation begins on day one when you sit down and meet with that counselor, and start talking about what interests you. I remember my counselor looking at my high school transcripts, which I was very embarrassed about, but there was no judgment, just encouragement. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. With everyone else working with you, how could you not keep going?”
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