Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

It’s never too late to remember… Oxnaforda

Written by: on November 16, 2023

If I would have told my high school self… that I would be staying on campus at Christ Church College I would have called myself a liar. Truly. I was finishing school a year early out of happenstance mainly that I had simply finished school early. I took a few classes by mail for fun, and my fall semester of my junior year the counselor called me in and told me that after the spring semester there was not any additional classes to take. What do you want to do next year? Ultimately, there was no reason to hang out another year for mere social interaction. However, somehow my adolescent self believed the lie that I was told by many that I wasn’t necessarily smart enough to attend any college except for a junior college an hour and a half away. Looking back I wonder especially with my personality now why on earth I would not challenge that. I didn’t. I said ok, and had a terrible first semester (academically) away from home at a two year college. Emotionally though, that is what I needed to find my self and find my voice. I took the next semester to find myself academically, and I cannot believe I am writing this out publicly… but I lied to my parents and enrolled in four year University without telling them, at the same time I was attending the two year college I was made to attend. I found some grit, and I found myself. I don’t remember the specific details but eventually they found out. Yikes.

Theres something to be said about not only having the elite privilege of taking the journey to Oxford, England but to literally have full access of Christ Church. To roam the halls, to eat in the dining hall, to walk through the church, to have wondered so far and get so lost in the experience I found not only their cemetery behind the church but their private bee colony. I found myself this semester pinching myself with every step that I took on campus. It was an honor I didn’t take lighty. I hope it was a generational break in my family in that you can literally do anything that you set your mind to. Whether it be stay in the dorms at Oxford, or attend any university in the states that you feel called to attend. I never want to box in my kids like I was forced to be in.

Prior to attending our advance I read the book Secrets of Oxford (On the plane), and watched the very upbeat video by Alice… Theres just nothing that can get you that buy in as much as placing your own two feet on campus though!

On the video she did a great job getting your prepared to see the sights thought! I enjoyed getting to see the Martyr’s Cross, and the Martyr Memorial… Having this background knowledge gave me some serious points with our tour guide that I knew what It was called! I really enjoyed being on the walking tour with an Oxford student! He had the buy in! He was excited about us being there, he had a wealth of knowledge, and he was enjoyable!

Looking back I enjoyed reading The Secret History of Oxford more on the plane ride home the second time because I could map out what it was discussing better! I had the Oxford bug… you could say and I couldn’t get enough!

Im going to throw myself under the bus again in this blog and admit to you that I have never had a buy in on anything by C.S. Lewis and J.R. Tolkien. I will however tell you that the Oxford bug is strong, and over the Christmas break I told my kids I think there is a movie called The Chronicles of Narnia we may have missed out on… From there I may choose to read the books. We will see! I have most certainly never read or watched any of the Lord of the Rings movies… and therefore by those two pillar works I missed the majority of our cohorts inside jokes! I paid attention though to all of the spots that you deemed important though! Someday when I am able to pick up those amazing books you spoke so highly about… I will remember our time together. A time that little girl wouldn’t have been able to dream up!


About the Author

Alana Hayes

Alana is a mother to four beautiful children and wife to a farmer in Texas. She is an avid world traveler with a heart for both the world and education. She is the president of the nonprofit Against the Grain Texas where they focus on providing education to children overseas and at risk adults in the states. To date the nonprofit has given almost $100,000 to individuals around the world. In her free time she loves spending meaningful time with people and reading to further her personal education.

4 responses to “It’s never too late to remember… Oxnaforda”

  1. Alana – I can just imagine the little girl inside you delighted by Oxford as you conquered so much with the help of God to get where you are! Please DO read C.S. Lewis with your kids! It’s one of those series that sticks with you for the rest of your life. Thank you for sharing your journey and courage here in this post. Keep on walking with that grit God has given you.

    • Alana Hayes says:

      Its definitely hard to honor your parents when you feel there is a misdoing…. but this is apart of my story and something I learned to share with other families with soon to be college age kids.

      Please don’t write your kids life stories for them…. they can do it! You have prepared them, now let them go!

  2. mm Shonell Dillon says:

    I’m sorry to hear that there was someone there to discourage you when you were younger. I can see that you did not give up. You were created by GOD so you are fearfully and wonderfully made and because he is your creator he is the only one that can tell you who you are. I am glad you got the chance to see things that you could never imagine. Be blessed.

  3. Tonette Kellett says:


    You are an amazing friend, student, mother! The list goes on and on! I’m so thankful you did not give up when you were younger and less confident. And equally amazed that we spent an entire week in Oxford! My younger self never would’ve imagined it either. More incredible journeys await you, and I’m so excited for what the Lord has in store for you!

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