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

“Wait, wait, wait. “ Those were the words from my grandfather as he slipped his hands into my pants when I was five years old. This disgusting reoccurring incident continued till I was about nine. My innocence, as well as my self-worth, was stripped away from me at a very young age. My parents were divorced by the time I was one so my upbringing was very unstable. I had nightmares of my grandfather into my adult years. I had built a wall to everyone who tried to care for me. By the time I entered high school, I did a pretty good job at masking the trauma I had been through as a child. I loved to swim so I found myself trying out to play water polo. Everyone gets a spot on the team as a freshman, but I didn’t think for a moment that this decision to play a sport would change my life.
I continued to play in high school and by my senior year, I learned what it meant to truly be passionate about something. For the very first time in my life, I found something that naturally let me escape horrific memories that often found their way to my brain. I loved this sport. I was a different person in the water, I was happy. Nothing else mattered during practice or a game. My focus took me so far away from anything that would harm me or scare me. I continued to play in college and once I graduated, I didn’t want water polo to slip out of my life. I started coaching at the high school level and found another avenue of the sport that I truly enjoyed. I’ve coached high school, club teams, and now currently coaching at my old junior college. In all my experience, I love this level the most.
People say, “do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” I quit my job last year to pursue the head coach position and I got it. Now, I’m pursuing my master's to give me the opportunity to teach at the junior college and really make myself available to students and players the way my coaches were for me. It changed my life and I want the opportunity to change someone else’s.

Mandy from California
Azusa Pacific University