Finding electricity in life as an English major

ASU Polytechnic campus English graduate Marshal Meador outdoors in the Sonoran desert

ASU English major Marshal Meador, of Mesa, Arizona, completed his degree at ASU Polytechnic campus and looks forward to teaching and living overseas.


Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2019 commencement.

In 2014, Marshal Meador was working as an electrician but feeling a little unsettled.

“Each night I would come home and think about where my life was headed,” recalled Meador, who has lived in Mesa, Arizona, since he was young. “After months of contemplating, it hit me that I enjoyed people, and I wanted to teach. Not just that, but I wanted to travel and explore. I realized I needed to go back to college.”

After doing a little research, he decided on majoring in English, and along the way added a certificate in teaching English to speakers of other languages. Meador has completed his degree in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, at ASU's Polytechnic campus, after making a smooth transfer to ASU from Chandler-Gilbert Community College.

“My plan after graduation is to go overseas for a while and teach,” said Meador, who has interest in pursuing work in Japan and Hong Kong. “I want to experience new cultures and live my life wherever my journey takes me.”   

Meador recently shared some thoughts on his undergraduate journey with ASU Now.

Question:  What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you, that changed your perspective? 

Answer: Something that surprised me was seeing how different college could be for everyone. I couldn't help but notice that the people who became active in the ASU community ended up having a more positive experience. A lot of their fears collapsed and the days they felt troubled often came to a swift end when they were approached by their friends and colleagues. As for others, the ones who shied away or saw college more as just a job or task to be completed, they struggled more. I say all of this to remind people that there is help out there. There are like-minded people, no matter the belief, waiting to meet you. When college gets hard, try to find someone that makes it easier. 

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: I have had several great professors at ASU. I have also had a handful of fantastic professors. One of the most important lessons I have been given by multiple educators at ASU is that you should never consider yourself an expert. The people who think they have learned everything stopped growing years ago. I have been told that we as teachers will always be bad at our profession. There is so much out there in the world and we have barely scraped the surface. So, I would like to thank all my teachers who got that message across to me. 

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: Stick in there, and do not give up. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and upset. Those feelings will fade. Take each day at a time and before you know it, you will be walking in your cap and gown.  

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?  

A: For the vast majority of my schooling at ASU, I was located at the Tempe campus. To me, the best building was the Memorial Union: Whether on the first floor with the crazy foot traffic; in the basement with its dim lights and long tables; or up on the third floor, with the cozy café always ready to serve me. 

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: Things have become so complicated in the world. It can be hard to even think where you would begin. I would focus, though, on stopping government corruption. I believe this would stop a plethora of other issues. If society is to reflect good morals, then we need honest people in power.  

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