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

To look ahead, I must touch on the past. I found my hunger to pursue graduate studies during my final year of undergraduate research at Temple University in 2016. I had unassumingly taken my first fiction course with Professor Lori Tharps, and fell ridiculously smitten with the tradition of literature, how the class was able to foster a free-spirited world inside the classroom where together we—teacher and students—all plunged head first into stories wrestling with the human condition.
A world like this can only be described as poetry.
But my shortly lived experience with this all came to an end after three months. It was both the first and last fiction class I was ever able to take. I graduated from Temple University that winter 2016, and ever since then I’ve been fueled by a carnal urge to spend my remaining days on this Earth teaching in the classroom. Upholding that tradition of fostering literature with the youth. Reading the words of tomorrow.
That fiction class nearly four years ago sealed my fate.
“Two more years,” I’m telling myself.
In attending New York University’s creative writing master’s program, I’ll be trained to write and then teach—inching closer to fulfilling the vision. The journey is funneling me through the Big Apple, but ironically enough, if not for standardized testing my voyage would have altered drastically.
Soon after undergraduate commencement in 2016 I attempted to complete The New Teacher Project Program in Baltimore—my birthplace—as an alternative method of attaining teaching credentials. Two Praxis tests stood in my way. I failed to meet the requirements for the program, and it left me discouraged from trying again.
So regardless of whether more standardized tests are in my future, one thing is certain: The young men and women I’ll one day teach will be faced with these tests. I feel less alone in my graduate pursuit knowing institutions are just as devoted to helping aspiring learners to attain their future.

Darrian from Maryland
New York University