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

When I first went to college, I had no idea of the value of higher education. I had been told by parents that the best when to secure a well-paying job was to go to college a get a degree in the business field so that I will have great opportunities. The problem came when the abundance of courses became apparent and I realized that there was a vast world beyond the path to typical success. I ended up bouncing around from major to major trying to figure out what I cared about. I ended up dropping out of school because I was not able to find what I was looking for. Turns out, I was searching for a better understanding of life itself. A few years later, my best friend, who graduated Magna Cum Laude from the same university I had dropped out of, went to law school. Then, I took stock of the direction my life was going and realized that my parents were right, in part. College is the path to a better future, but not by blindly running in the direction one is pointed. Once I had figured out what I wanted to know, I re-enrolled in school and pursued a degree in English Literature, a field of study that encompasses a vast array of other fields such as psychology, religion, architecture, etc. Literature also provides insight into humanity itself. By studying literature, I found that I cared about lessening people's suffering. I also discovered that there are many ways to do that, and not all of them are direct. After speaking with my professors to gain their perspectives on graduate school, I decided not to attend graduate school for Literature. Instead, I opted to pursue a Master's in Architecture. Many people do not realize how the physical world around us shapes us. I believe I can impact the world through literally re-shaping it to provide places of solace and community. The inspiration to pursue a graduate degree for me was not born of out some sense of career fulfillment. It was born from the terror of a wasted life and the pain of others suffering a much worse fate.

Joshua from Texas
University of Houston