TCL’s student of the year turns a negative event into a positive future
Jonathan Bryant’s college success story is far from ordinary. It was a life-changing event that ultimately led to his pursuit of higher education at the Technical College of the Lowcountry.
Bryant, who was raised on Hilton Head Island, dropped out of high school at age 17 to pursue his own entrepreneurship dreams. The ambitious teenager started a telecommunications company that wired homes and offered home and business network solutions. The real world soon showed him that a high school diploma was important, so he went on to earn a G.E.D. from the Technical College System of Georgia.
Bryant then spent the next fifteen years doing what he loved. He held multiple jobs at various technology companies and worked as a boat captain. But Bryant’s life took an unexpected turn in 2010 when he was diagnosed with stage four bone cancer.
“I was working as a boat captain and decided I did not want to spend the greater part of my life in the sun beating my body up. I needed a more stable and, quite frankly, a safer job,” Bryant said.
This led him to the Technical College of the Lowcountry where he was immediately impressed. “I visited several colleges and at each and every one I was treated as a number or generally herded through admissions like cattle, until I spoke with a few staff members at TCL,” Bryant said.
Although Bryant continued to face health challenges while enrolled, he credits TCL for helping him stay positive.
“I believe life is just what you want it to be and what you allow it to be,” Bryant said, “In my very specific case, I have made a decision to take a very negative life event and embrace it.”
Computer Technology Instructor Karen Smith says Bryant’s positive attitude has made a difference at TCL. “Jonathan is an outstanding, extremely motivated student who is always willing to be a mentor to other students in the class,” she said.
In addition to peer-to-peer mentoring, Bryant served as a member of the All-State Academic Team and President of both TCL’s Student Government Association and the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. He has a nearly 3.8 GPA and was named the 2014 Student of the Year. Bryant is quick to thank fellow organization members, friends, family and the entire student body for helping him succeed and looks forward to returning the favor.
“I know one day it will be my turn to step up to the plate and help any of the people mentioned, even if it’s just a shoulder to lean on, Bryant said.
He also credits TCL’s faculty and staff for helping him accomplish his goals while teaching him the importance of being trustworthy and hardworking.
“A few [instructors] have been quite influential on me and I will carry what they have taught and shared with me for the rest of my life,” Bryant said.
Outside of classes and volunteering at the student center, Bryant enjoys fishing, playing golf and working on his technology equipment. He says it’s this love of technology that played a key role in his success as a computer science major.
“I think this passion has most certainly helped me in my academics,” Bryant said. “The staggering amount of hardware and software I own could most assuredly be used by NASA as a mission control center.”
Bryant will receive his Associate Degree in Applied Science/Computer Technology this August. He plans to transfer to a four-year university and earn a Bachelor’s degree and later pursue a master’s degree at Georgia Institute of Technology.
Although Bryant’s time at TCL comes to a close this summer, he says he will continue to support and cherish the college during his future endeavors, no matter what life throws his way.
“It is no secret that he has persevered through several obstacles in his life thus far; truly, the sky is the limit for Jonathan Bryant,” Campus Life Manager Mackenzie Thomas said.