After leaving home at the age of 15, Marshall McCloud quickly found himself adjusting to a more grown-up life.
He worked as much as he could and attended community college.
“This, all in attempts to live up to what I, at the time, assumed society expected out of a young adult male, not a teenage boy,” he said.
Now, 13 years later, McCloud has set his own course and mapped a successful academic career at his own pace. While being a non-traditional student comes with its own unique challenges, the senior economics major at North Carolina A&T looks forward to meeting each challenge head-on.
“After having worked in a number of industries, meeting thousands of people, traveling many states with certain jobs, I was able to increase my understanding of my world, and of course, in the definitional sense of the word,” he said.
In addition to being an honors student at A&T, McCloud, 29, will soon celebrate his fourth year as a member of the Army National Guard. His success is a credit to his hard work, the university’s honors program and the support of his wife Catherine, he said.
Off campus, McCloud also supports his community through by working to promote organizations that assist special needs children.
“Anyone that has worked with or around special needs children knows why they are called this – special,” he said. “I find it is in our most basic nature, as humans, to help those in need – those that are truly unable to care for themselves.”
After graduation, McCloud looks forward to pursing a lifelong devotion of discovery.
“I am always happy,” he said. “I am the happiest, however, when I remain productive. Success seems to always be in my future.”
McCloud also will have a minor in leadership with military science as a part of his academic track.
Raised on a large farm in a small Oklahoma town, McCloud chose to attend A&T because the university offered the majors and the cultural focus he sought, he said.
“I was met with this incredible feeling of excitement, appreciation and welcoming nature,” he said. “This type of energy was felt over and over each time, dealing with admissions and the economics department. This character is still there each day I arrive on campus.”
McCloud’s biggest challenge as a non-traditional student has been trying not to develop the age bias that he once found himself fighting against while attempting to make it in the real world at a young age.
“Not only was this country founded on radical, new-aged, energetic thoughts and ideas from the 20-somethings citizens, but this same belief and energy, I hope, will be what keeps the U.S. productive and ultimately saves it from itself,” he said.
Choosing to study economics – one of society’s most useful disciplines – was the easy part for McCloud.
“Economics is not necessarily a science, per say,” McCloud said. “It is absolutely the ‘ebb and flow’ of society and the markets that they occupy. Mathematics is the only language of truth. Together, these create the perfect discipline.”