Write an essay where you tell us about what drives you in your pursuit of your graduate degree.
In 2016, my mother passed away from liver failure; after many attempts to become sober, she lost an eight-year battle against her alcohol addiction. Despite her struggle with alcoholism, my mother did whatever she could to ensure my siblings and I had a positive role model. Throughout my childhood, I witnessed her perform acts of kindness, regardless of the help she needed herself. Watching her give without the need to receive anything in return, inspired me to find my passion for serving others. The year I lost my mom, I decided to join the Alternative Break community at my undergraduate school. My mom’s illness not only encouraged me to help others in need but gave me the ability to see people as they are and meet them where they are, at any stage of life. Speech-language pathology (SLP) requires a person with patience and empathy, someone who is willing to help people help themselves. I began to apply my values of service and compassion to my future profession when I was selected to be a camp counselor at New Jersey’s Camp Chatterbox. This was a retreat exclusively for children and young adults who communicate through the use of synthesized augmentative and alternative communication devices. Before starting our daily morning routine of showering and brushing our teeth, I would ask the campers if there was anything they needed to communicate to me. Doing this was essential because once they did not have access to their device, their communication relied solely on nonverbal communication. Living alongside individuals diagnosed with complex communication disorders, further confirmed my choice in pursuing this field. It allowed me to realize that everyone has a battle they are fighting. For my mom, it was her alcohol addiction. For the individuals I worked with at the camp, it was the ability to have a ‘voice’ and be heard in the way they intend. And for me, it is ensuring that everything I do has a purpose. I know becoming an SLP will allow me to do just that.
Paige from New Jersey