I have probably disclosed in these blog posts at some time that I am a teacher at a local university. Nearing the end of my teaching career, it was inevitable that I would think back to some of my favorite and unique students. Sometimes they are the same person.
One of them was an African American male student from Arkansas who studied finance. I will call him Marcus. In some ways, Marcus was not an extraordinary student, except for several distinguishing characteristics
First, he wore a suit and tie to class. You must understand, few students did this at the time I taught Marcus, nor today. Secondly, he was from Arkansas and was attending a university in the Northeast. Few students with this background move so far to attend school, but the university draws students from all around the world and across the country. Just not many from Arkansas.
He was an active participant in the course. He did well. I got to know him. Here is his story.
Marcus told me that his brother was in the military while Marcus was still at home, not knowing what he might do in the future. He thought he was destined to remain in Arkansas. His brother came home on leave, looking sharp in his military uniform. Marcus admired him. He made a point to tell Marcus that there is “a whole other world out there” to which the older brother was exposed. For him, it was like seeing snow for the first time. He told Marcus about the new world he had come to know. Marcus took note.
What was Marcus’ brother saying to him? It was that his “new world” was not just different, it was at a different level of life than the one Marcus lived in. Marcus had always felt trapped. He was persuaded not to be imprisoned by his town and his state. Marcus’ brother was the catalyst that Marcus needed to make the change.
He decided to go to a university. The one where I met Marcus.
If you met Marcus you would know that he was motivated not just to earn a college degree, but to move to a higher level in life. He was about to change his social and economic class. He was proud. He wanted more.
Changing class in America is difficult. There are a few ways to do so that we will explore in future blogs. One of them is going to college.
In that year Marcus elevated himself. I am sure he is doing well. In another class of life. Well beyond the college course that we shared.
The lessons that he learned transcended the classroom.
Like the lesson that when we want something badly enough in America, so much is possible.
On the day when the world came to Arkansas for a young man named Marcus.
The Make Life Good Team