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

I want to become a couple and family therapist. My goal is to help people who are in the supporting roles of someone with mental illness and/or someone in difficult life situations. I especially want to help children who are misguided by their troubled parents or caregivers. I want to be able to offer my help to them in the everyday language that they actually understand.
Our family suffered a lot because of my mother’s mental illness. My father didn’t handle that too well, but there was one gift he gave me. It wasn’t money. It was a mindset about money. He started working for a bank when he graduated from high school and worked there for 47 years. It is a very respectable bank in my hometown, and he was proud of what he did. Toward the end of his career, he mostly worked on business loans, but he himself never borrowed money other than the mortgage, which he paid off in 10 years. When I was little, he told me if I used a credit card, I’d have to pay back with an interest, and that was a very scary thing to do. He was dead serious. A lot of people he met at work had financial problems. He was very frugal. He saved, saved and saved. Thanks to him, my mother has no financial worries even after he passed away. I cash flowed my undergraduate degree, and I intend to do the same this time. I have three children, and I believe it’s my job to show them how to pay for education. If there is one thing I can take away from my unhappy childhood, it’s what my father taught me. I have to work hard to earn money, and I don’t buy stuff I can’t pay for. (You might think I sound like a radio show host from Tennessee, but my father lived in Japan and had no idea who he was.)
I believe money plays a big part in our mental health. Scholarship programs are wonderful ways to help people get education while taking some financial pressure off of their shoulders so that they can actually focus on their studies. I would greatly appreciate it if you can help me.

Sachiko from California
Alliant International University