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

I was the first person in my family to graduate from high school, let alone graduate from college. Even when I 18 years old, I knew that I wanted to continue my education beyond an undergraduate degree. However, as life often does, it got in the way of my goals. Upon graduating from college, I immediately got a job in law enforcement. I loved this job! However, an autoimmune disease forced me to leave that profession, I needed a less physical job; so I went into selling financial products. Unhappy with sales, and wanting a job where I could make a difference in people's lives, I pursued a degree in nursing. However, being 51 years old with arthritis, I knew that being a staff (floor) nurse might be too physically challenging. Therefore I decided that being a nurse practitioner might be a better option. I am proud that I was accepted into the number one school for psychiatric/mental health doctorate of nursing practice degree. I am a little over halfway through the program and currently have a 3.8 GPA. I am driven to pursue this particular specialty because there is such a high need for providers who have the unique skills and temperament to work with this patient population. So many people suffer from mental illness, yet they are unable to find providers with whom they can connect. In fact, in some areas of the country, patients must drive 500 or more miles to find a provider that specializes in psychiatry and when they do find a provider, the wait list for new patients in often six months or more! I have a passion for providing empathetic, personalized care for these patients in need.

Tony from Illinois
Rush University