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

Virginia Woolf once said, “For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.” I don’t want to be anonymous. As a woman in a man’s world like academia, goals give female students like me a healthy means of fuel and motivation to make a difference. Pursuing a graduate degree has shown me that I do belong somewhere – in the classroom. However, becoming the confident scholar I am today has been a long and arduous journey. At the age of fourteen, I was in a traumatic wood-shop accident. During my recovery at home, picking up a book changed my course of life. Reading gave me purpose, it gave me passion, and it gave me my life back. As a kid, I was very shy, I stuttered, I lacked confidence, and I was bullied a lot. I ate my lunch alone in the library at school because I found the comfort in books and joining characters in on their journeys to finding their identity. I found mine in literature and teaching. As a Substitute Teacher, my students constantly show me the power that stories hold and how love as pedagogy leads to the best work. Teaching is my destiny, but obtaining such a goal in grad school has been difficult financially. I have four part-time jobs. My family has been hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak. I am laid off and I filed for unemployment. I have been living off credit cards and student loans. I am embarrassed by my debt, but I am humbled by my opportunities as a Greek-American female scholar. In May 2020, I will be graduating with my Masters in English from California State University, Fullerton. In August 2020, I will be starting an English Doctoral Program at Claremont Graduate University. Pursuing a PhD means more debt, but education is my passion and literature has my heart. My goal is to become an English college professor one day. My struggles will pay off because my students, similar to literature, constantly teach me new ways of seeing the world. Love is one of the most powerful forces and it definitely gives me a reason to keep on fighting. Thank you.

Christina from California
California State University, Fullerton