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Marcus Sellers

Richland helped make college a reality for Marcus

Marcus Sellers says that he got to the age of thirty-three the long way.  After barely graduating from MacArthur High School in 2002, Marcus enlisted in the army and was deployed to the Middle East just nine days after he completed basic training. Having served in the army for three years, he returned to Decatur, got married, began raising four children, and worked at a variety of small jobs.

“I knew that I wanted more, so I decided to come back to school to get a better job,” explained Marcus. “I wasn’t sure how to begin, but once I got here all of the counselors and advisors were helpful and lead me through the process.”

Once he realized the benefits available to him as a veteran, Marcus knew attending college was an attainable goal. “The Post 9/11 G.I. Bill…will pay 100% of your school. You also get a housing allowance every month and that the big thing that I didn’t know. You can offer me free school, but I didn’t know how I was going to pay my utilities and pay my rent. The housing allowance made [going back to school] possible.”

For the past year, Marcus has worked in the library, assisting other students with research and computer problems. He has also helped ease the worries of other non-traditional students who come into the library and are nervous about returning to college later in life. “I tell them that I did the same thing. You’ll appreciate school more now, you’ll take it seriously.”

In May of 2017, Marcus graduated from Richland and will continue his education at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he will study economics.

“The experience here has set me ahead of a lot of other people [who didn’t attend community college first],” said Marcus.  

Marcus also has advice for other veterans who want to go back to school. “I wish I would have started earlier. Don’t be nervous. If you’re just getting out of the service, come here, talk to the counselors, they’ll set you up.”

Hear more Richland success stories here.