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

When I was a young, I remember saying I wanted to be a psychiatrist. Weird, right? Most children might say veterinarian, professional sports player or a teacher. I have always felt that it was my duty to help others and that feeling has been extended and feels even deeper now. I am inspired by others and how resilient some people can be, especially children, when they have support and encouragement, even in the midst of tragedy and trauma.
I have been lucky enough to have worked in the mental health field for nearly 15 years, and many times over those years have had the thought, “hey, what about graduate school, is now the time?” And it just never seemed quite like the right time. Money is tight. Moving. Working to gain experience in the field. Whatever the reason, it appeared it just may not be in the cards for me. But I never could quite be rid of that urge, the sense that I wanted to do more for others, in a professional capacity.
By pursuing my master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling, I will be able to do just that, and more! I am thrilled be able to say that my graduate school chapter has officially begun. It has been a wonderful challenge and have learned that not only will I be able to have the knowledge and experience to be licensed professional and help others make real change in their lives, but I have gained the ability to trust myself and know that I can handle whatever challenges may come.
I was inspired by a friend and co-worker to finally take the plunge and apply for graduate school in 2017. I was invited to her graduation ceremony and was so inspired by the variety of graduates in her cohort. With her encouragement I finally felt that it was my time. I applied and was accepted, and just like that, my life changed forever.
Becoming a professional counselor, working with those with disabilities to reach their potential, is something I can always be proud of and will take this experience with me wherever my next chapter takes me.

Laura from Minnesota
St. Cloud State University