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winter 2018
Marcus Isom

Their World at Wofford: Marcus Isom

Where I was, where I am, where I’m going – Excerpts from a law school admission essay

I am my grandmother’s son. Born to a teenage mother and an absent father, my grandmother—who was one of 11 and had six children of her own—supported my mother and took me in as her son. Thanks to my grandmother’s generosity and to a hardworking mother, I became the first member of my family to attend college. I’ve changed the dynamic of my family, and though I never knew it, my path to becoming a soon-to-be college graduate was an unusual one.

This past November I finished my last career football game at Wofford College and sat with my family afterward, reminiscing about how I progressed from an immature high school athlete to a member of Wofford’s championship team and chairman of the college’s Judicial Commission. My grandmother was always adamant that we were well cared for despite having many heads under one roof. My mother and grandmother worked tirelessly to ensure that we had everything we needed for school, even though the prospects for completing an education in my neighborhood were statistically very bleak. Their sacrifices for our well-being and education proved to be useful to me as a lineman on my high school football team and continue to lift me up after four years as a Wofford Terrier.

I am grateful for the challenges I faced because they made me a better athlete, a more grateful student and a more serious person. I was not the first in my high school to receive a Division I scholarship for football, but there was no one I knew who chose a college like Wofford. At Wofford a student-athlete is a student first, and there are no easy majors for football players. I chose to pursue a degree in government, and I often found myself writing research papers on the bus returning from away games. I really enjoyed the majority of my courses, and I devoted twice as many hours to my studies as I did to physical training and football practice.

Even though it’s been exhausting, my academic career at Wofford has been nothing short of amazing. This semester I had the opportunity to serve as the counsel for our commander in chief on a moot court emulating the Rumsfeld v. Padilla trial. Serving as justices during the mock trial were the Hon. Henry Floyd ’70 from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals; attorney Jesselyn Radack, the Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow who has served as legal counsel for Edward Snowden and a number of national whistle- blowers; and my pre-law adviser. I also served the Wofford community by mentoring a number of students and by upholding our Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities as a member of the Judicial Commission.

I’ve come to appreciate the ways that my studies have given me a better grasp of our political world. My professors always seek critical explanation and expansive thought, which has strengthened me as a whole. I cannot recall taking more than one or two standardized exams since I’ve been here. I value this because it elevated my thinking and honed my ability to share diverse thoughts and opinions. In the end, I think I have lived up to the expectations of my mother and grandmother. I’m still a big kid at heart, but I have earned a great liberal arts education that will equip me with the tools to give back to my family and community.

During my time at Wofford, I have come to value a rich learning environment and a working relationship with my professors. As a student-athlete and leader on campus, I value collaborating with my peers in the classroom and in areas outside of the classroom that make Wofford the best place that it can be. As I consider law school acceptances, I use my Wofford experience as a standard. Years from now I envision myself as a servant leader, a legal advocate and a counselor. My mother and grandmother have been my rock and my foundation. Wofford College has helped me use that foundation to grow, change and determine a path for my future. I’m grateful to both my family and my alma mater!

by Marcus Isom ’15