Renegade Struggle: Matthew Bray


Paige Atkison

Matthew Bray, 22, Bakersfield College student stands in Campus Center after sharing his struggle to reach his goals after a car accident.

Paige Atkison, Reporter

Matthew Bray, 22, was on his way to class when a U-Haul truck struck his Chevy, smashing his truck in between two vehicles. The accident took place in the fall semester of 2017, but it didn’t stop him from earning straight A’s and making the Dean’s List.

Further exemplifying his dedication to academic achievement, Bray emailed his professor right after the accident to explain that he would be late to class.

“It all happened so fast. It was traumatizing,” said Bray. “It was the first accident I had ever been in. If I were in a smaller truck or a car, I would have died. The size of my truck probably saved me from worse injuries.”

Later, Bray would discover that the accident caused him to dislocated his knee.

“The way my legs were positioned in the car during the accident lead to the dislocation,” said Bray.

Following the dislocation of his knee, Bray had to take time off work.

“I also had to miss a week of school, which meant I missed important lectures and all of the things I cared about the most,” said Bray.

Once Bray returned to classes, he was on crutches.

“My physical condition was much harder to manage after the accident than my mental condition,” said Bray.

He found himself struggling to navigate the Bakersfield College campus while on crutches.

“Walking back and forth from the parking lots was frustrating,” said Bray. “The stairs were the worst.”

Though he struggled with moving around campus after his injury, Bray highlighted the understanding his professors showed him. His professors were lenient with absences and tardiness, knowing that Bray was simply struggling to walk to class.

“My work was incredibly understanding as well,” said Bray. “In a sense, my work was even more understanding than the school was. I was fortunate to work at a place where everyone cared about me.”

Despite the hardships the accident caused him, Bray credits his academic achievement that semester to the focus he channeled afterwards.

“I had to look at myself and say ‘Okay, this happened. Now I just have to focus on something else,’” said Bray.

Following the accident, Bray threw himself into his schoolwork. He spent his time and energy on subjects that he loves- music and philosophy.

The time he took off work also contributed to the amount of effort he was able to give his schoolwork.
“I was incredibly lucky,” said Bray. “Had I been working, going to school, managing physical therapy, and handling everything involved in the accident- I would have gone nuts.”

Bray also credits the accident for giving him a new outlook on life.

“It helped put things into perspective,” said Bray. “It wasn’t that bad. I lost a car, I got hurt, I’m in a lawsuit. I’m waiting for that to be settled. But I’m aware that there are people in far worse situations. I try to remember that there are always people who have it worse.”