Bryce Enoch-Wysham is a senior in human development and family sciences, human services option.
Despite experiencing cardiac arrest before his first year at Oregon State, he’s now thriving.
Bryce has put his passion for helping others into action by working to meet the needs of people across the lifespan, from those experiencing Alzheimer’s disease to children in need of care and support.
What led you to study human services? And why did you choose Oregon State?
I chose OSU because there were so many people in my family who had gone here that it wasn’t much of a question.
Since high school, my dream job was to work in mental health. However, I felt my personal ambitions were overshadowed by the climate crisis, so I put my personal preferences aside to pursue engineering to help solve it. I found little joy in the process of this work, however, so I attempted environmental policy, which ended with the same result.
In the midst of this, a friend of mine recommended a youth shelter for me to apply to. Somehow, with no experience or related college education, I got the job. I enjoyed my work, and there wasn’t any turning back.
It clicked that working a job out of a sense of obligation wouldn’t be sustainable for me over the long haul, especially when I had found work completely unrelated to my major that I looked forward to each day. I switched to studying human development and family sciences shortly after this realization.
Have you had to overcome any challenges in your academic journey?
I’ve certainly had some challenges in my academic journey.
Most notable was my cardiac arrest due to an anomaly on my heart rhythm gene the summer before college started. Three days after it happened, I woke up from a coma with a foggy brain that could barely remember what happened five minutes before.
I was told I would never be allowed to participate in sports, run or work out ever again. As an athlete whose main emotional outlet was exercise, this was devastating. However, as the months went by, I felt more and more like myself.
Despite doctor recommendations that I take more time off to let my brain heal and not take difficult classes, I wanted to push myself. I started classes three months after this incident, and I made myself proud during my freshman year. I think I did very well.
Do you participate in campus or community clubs or organizations?
Oddly enough, I found myself on the executive team for Women in Business despite not being a woman and not being involved in business. I was just there to help the organization get its feet off the ground.
I was heavily involved in getting its website up and running and attending all executive and public meetings. However, I care deeply about women’s issues, and I helped as much as I could until someone more suited for the role could replace me at the end of the year.
I also intermittently attend Chess Club because I have a deep love for chess, but not deep enough to play at the level of the chess club members who are, to this day, the best players I have ever played in person.
Have you completed an internship? If so, where and what did you learn from the experience?
I’ve completed both my 90-hour and 300-hour human services internships.
I completed my 90-hour internship at Grace Center. I chose this site because I had already tried working with young children and adolescents but never with adults or the elderly. I learned how difficult Alzheimer’s disease can be to deal with and how difficult that field is to work in. I have immense respect for people who can pour their hearts out to someone each day only to have most or all of their efforts forgotten and to do it all over again the next day.
My other internship was at my current job, Trillium Family Services, where I work with adolescents who have behavioral, relational or psychological issues that we address through skills training, medication and therapy.
I’ve learned a lot about myself, and I doubt I would be anywhere near as confident or as calm as I am today if it weren’t for the stressful situations I’ve overcome almost daily at these facilities.
I’ve also learned that even the most difficult children always have a reason for their challenges, and they are always worthy of love and understanding. I’ve never once met a child who I felt was truly mean or who didn’t want to be a good person, and it’s helped me develop an unshakable faith in humanity.
What do you think of your experience at OSU/in the college so far? Any stand-out experiences?
I think my most stand-out experience within OSU so far, beyond the lifelong friends I’ve made, are the teachers to whom I owe everything. I wouldn’t have my current job, and I wouldn’t have the confidence I have in the path I’ve chosen without them.
Lori McGraw stands out especially as the teacher of my favorite class so far, Professional Helping Skills. I’ve never been more excited to show up to class and learn new skills than in her class; it was all I needed to know to decide that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I still use the skills I learned in that class at my job at Trillium whenever the kids decide to open up to me.
What are your post-college dreams?
I have many post-college dreams but no timeline for them. I hope to travel as much as possible, learn new languages and become a more well-rounded person.
It’s also important to me that I get my master’s degree in social work or psychology so that I can someday become a therapist and start my own practice.