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

It is easy to dismiss experiences one might have as just mere events and sometimes, as meaningless events especially when they present as uncomfortable circumstances. At such unpalatable moments, the idea that there is a purpose for everything seems to defy reality. My reality was that I did not grow up in a traditional family setting with parents and children under one roof, and when I reunited with my family, it was not as cheery as I had imagined it would be. I was born in Nigeria where I lived for thirteen years. I lived with my younger brother, my grandmother, my aunt, and my uncle. My parents migrated to the United States when I was seven years old and worked hard to bring my brother and me over. As part of the reuniting process, I moved to Canada with my brother when I was thirteen. My mother and two new siblings joined us; my father had to stay in the United States due to his job. My dream to live with my entire family was finally actualized when my family moved to Fresno, California to live with my father. However, due to the distance between us for many years, we often dealt with disagreements, quarrels, and misunderstandings, especially in the first year. Although these experiences of family conflicts and moving from one country to another were not always pleasant, they have been instrumental in my development as a person who takes a keen interest in the family institution. The experiences have also contributed to my decision to pursue a career in marriage and family therapy. Living in different family settings (with and without my parents), in distinct social and cultural environments, and witnessing the way other families interacted with each other in these environments, I have developed curiosity as well as an appreciation for the family unit and its role in society as a fundamental building block.
Moreover, during a soul-searching activity after my second year in college, I realized that my desire to understand my interaction with my family, solve the issues we had, and develop healthy relationships could become a career. My experiences with my family made me more curious about the challenges other families might face. The best part was that I would marry two things that I hold dearly- family and making positive contributions to people's lives.

Tolulope from California
Azusa Pacific University