“The socially awkward nerd in the corner”, I am John Taylor. I hail from Lebanon, VA, nestled in the mountains of southwest Virginia. I am originally from Lexington, SC, where I was born and raised for 22 years of my life. I moved to Virginia in the spring of 2005 to start my new life with the woman that would become my wife. We have been married for 11 years now, and she is the best wife anyone could have. I am also the father of two amazing, if not sometimes aggravating, children. Our days off from regular life duties include dance practices and competitions, baseball games and tournaments, and soccer. In my spare time, I am an Android enthusiast and have spent time in years past developing custom Android firmware and doing theme designs for other developers. I am an avid South Carolina Gamecocks fan, and we are deeply rooted in all things garnet and black.
Among titles I wear other than husband, father, son, and brother, I am also a cancer survivor and mental health awareness advocate. In the fall of 2012 I received my advanced cancer diagnosis at the age of 29. What followed was months of chemotherapy, surgeries, and inpatient hospital stays. In February of 2013, I would become a survivor, and I now celebrate over four years in remission. As someone who has battled with mental health issues, I also stand as an awareness advocate for men’s mental health, standing up as a voice for men to know that it is okay to seek the help needed to live a great and satisfying life.
I graduated from Southwest Virginia Community College in the Spring of 2017 with my Associate of Applied Science in Information Systems Technology. In my quest to gain my life back after cancer, I took on the challenge of going back to college for the first time in 13 years. I set my goals, I worked my face off, and end the end, I reached those goals. Proving to myself that, yes, there is a life after trauma. And that life is mine.
Without purpose, what are we? Nothing but beings that walk the Earth until our time is up. I am not one of those humans. I prefer to think that I have direction and that my hard work pays off in keeping me moving in the right direction, the direction that I choose. So what is my direction? What is my purpose? Where am I now, and where do I want to be?
I graduated from college in the spring of 2017. It was my first time back in school since graduating high school. A sure challenge to rise up to and I had a lot to prove, mostly to myself. I told myself when I started that the goal was to graduate with a 3.5 or higher. A decent, attainable, but challenging goal. I struggled, I stumbled, I studied, I researched. I went into the college experience at the age of 32, and finished at the age of 34, with a 3.5 GPA, a member of 2 honors socieities, and a degree that reads “Magna Cum Laude”. But is this where the challenge just, ends? What comes next?
I am now looking to start down a career path. I realize that being a fresh college graduate with only an associate degree doesn’t exactly rank me high on the totem pole. But that’s where my love of a good challenege comes in. I’m willing to start where my skills and background place me. I am willing to learn, to grow, and to morph into better than what I am right now. What I’m looking for in a career is something that gives me that opportunity. To prove what I know, what I can do. To learn what makes a job important to the company, and how it can be used as a stepping stone to better opportunities. But this also doesn’t mean I will just settle on what I have now, and be content. Continuation is a part of the plan.
My plan to continue on starts with continuing my education. I am very interested in cybersecurity and I would love to go back to my alma mater to continue my education in cybersecurity. My plan is to complete the career studies certificate program, and sit for my industry level certifications in the process. I will also use the opportunity to obtain other career related certifications as I go. There are always new things to learn, ways to improve, and I plan on continuing to learn and grow as my career life progresses.