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

Financial challenges made attending undergrad and graduate school difficult because I did not have the financial support from my family. Medical expenses became the priority for both of my parents as my mother was also diagnosed with breast cancer and later a tumor in her thumb. Not wanting to burden my parents with tuition cost meant working as a student athlete in undergrad and now holding three jobs as a graduate student. Pursing a graduate degree in the mental health field was largely influenced by the disparities I saw in my communities and the desire to find solutions to those disparities. People in my neighborhood did not view mental health as something they could afford or something they felt could be of value to them. In my role as a future counseling psychologist I hope to expand services to persons of all socioeconomic status, genders, religions, and ethnicities. In particular, I am interested in counseling women and men during their peripartum period. I found growing up the focus on maternal wellness was overshadowed by the basic needs of these women that needed to me met. By providing a safe, affordable, and educational space for families to learn and share about becoming parents, the birthing process, the loss of a child, infertility and other medical or emotional related concerns, they may begin to feel a sense of hope they never thought possible. Working through the process of college one goal at a time was always something that helped propel me forward. Pursing a degree will allow me to educate employers and other healthcare providers on the functional and social implications of mental health disorders to reduce the cycle of stigma in the workplace and increase workplace advocacy and collaboration of mental health. I felt inspired to choose further education because I believe as a counselor I can help facilitate change through a client centered approach in which the person is the expert on their life.

Sasa from Indiana
Ball State University