Write an essay where you tell us about what drives you in your pursuit of your graduate degree.

I can proudly say I am the first and only member of my family to go to college and get a degree. It surprises those who find out I am pursuing a degree in medicine when nobody else in my family is a doctor or in the healthcare field at all, but for those who know my stepfather Dwayne, it comes as no surprise that I chose such a difficult path. As a kid, I was my stepfather Dwayne’s sidekick in all projects and there weren’t too many places he would go where I wasn’t right beside him. He could build or fix anything, so after 12-hour shifts, he took on odd jobs to support my mom, sister and I. He was undoubtedly the greatest friend I had ever had and unbeknownst to me at the time, it was through watching him work hard day in and day out that I became who I am. I chose the most difficult, yet self-rewarding career I could think of and have been telling myself I would be a doctor since I was a kid. He taught me that hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning, and the man worked harder than anyone I’d ever met. It was his drive to be better than the rest while providing the greatest life he could for me, that inspired me to not only go to college, but to go beyond that, and I am now 12 months away from becoming a doctor. I know it was Dwayne who showed me what hard work can get you because I hear his closest friends tell me how proud he was of me and that they see his drive within me, just as strong as they saw it in him. And I dreamed of him at my final graduation day, as he had been at all others, where he would see how great of an impact he had on my life. Unfortunately, he recently passed away unexpectedly and no matter how incredibly sad I am to have lost my best friend; I know I would not be who I am today if he had never walked into my mother’s life 20 years ago. Dwayne has been the single biggest motivating factor in my life on the pursuit of my degree in medicine and I will continue to make him proud.

Kaitlyn from Illinois
Rosalind Franklin University or Medicine and Science