Friday, October 4, 2019

Who is Marcus Taylor?

Is Marcus Taylor a barber? A dog breeder? A house rehabber? A car salesman? Or, a personal trainer? The answer is yes, and no. Yes, Marcus has done all these things, but they aren’t all he is. He still works as a barber and he still rehabs homes, but he has bigger plans for his future. Asking himself, “Who is Marcus Taylor” was the question that eventually landed Marcus at Reynolds. 

Right now, what Marcus is, is a Reynolds student.

Aside from career labels, what Marcus is, is a fighter, a survivor, a tenacious “never give up” Veteran who started life in less than ideal circumstances. “Where I came from in the East End there wasn’t anything to lose, and there seemed to be no way out,” Marcus said, “my saving grace was joining the Army. It was my way out. I got to see the world and go to pla
ces I never dreamed of.”
When Marcus got out of the service in 2013 he didn’t know which way to go. “I went a lot of ways,” he says, “I’m good at almost anything, and can grasp how to do almost anything. So I tried on lots of careers. They were like suits that just didn’t fit right.”

“Then,” says Marcus, “I got interested in construction. I could see that Richmond was booming. I met a developer who said: “you know, people always need housing,” but I didn’t know what to do with my interest until I came to Reynolds. An advisor gave me a career survey, and I knew I had found a good fit. I started taking classes in Building Construction Management, and for the first time since I got out of the Army, I had hope, I had a future again, I finally found a light at the end of the tunnel – and I found it at Reynolds.”

Marcus credits his girlfriend with urging him to speak up about his experience at Reynolds. It’s a good thing she did, because Marcus has a lot to say. Especially about the Reynolds classroom. “I have thrived in the Reynolds atmosphere of small classes. I am truly grateful to have been given the space to explore my talents and interests. I tell others, if you want to go to college, and you want to work, there are opportunities right here at your fingertips. If you can afford those expensive gym shoes, you can afford to go to college.”

“I used to wish I had grown up some place else, some place better,” Marcus says, “but then I think about the tools I have in my bag as a result, and I wouldn’t trade those tools for anything else.” Marcus has also been to war, which added a whole other set of tools to his arsenal. As a result, he comes to the classroom with a perspective many students don’t have. “At first I felt like a dinosaur next to some of the 18-year old students. Now, I chuckle when they huff and puff about getting a tough homework assignment. Paying bills, and fighting for your life, now THOSE are tough assignments.”

Marcus plans to graduate in the spring or early summer. He knows he has a lot of work to do to get there, but that work doesn’t faze him. “You have to tap in to your “have to” to reach your tough goals,” Marcus explains, “you can’t whine and complain that the work is too hard. You’ve just got to dig in and do it, you’ve got to do the hard stuff.”

And after graduation? “I’d like to go to ODU or VA Tech and get my degree in Building Construction Management or Project Management. Now that I have found my passion and a career that fits, even if my GI Bill runs out, I’ll find a way to go.”

Who is Marcus Taylor? He’s a guy who greets you openly with a wide, genuine smile. He’s a hard-working, no nonsense realist who doesn’t believe in excuses – his own or anyone else’s. He’s smart, he’s curious, and he’s focused on his goals.

Who is Marcus Taylor? He’s a Reynolds student.