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

The single biggest motivating factor that drives me in my pursuit of a graduate degree is my family. My parents immigrated from Colombia to the U.S. many years ago and decided to invest all of their resources into my mother getting an education in order to succeed here. My parents enrolled themselves in classes to learn English and my mother was simultaneously pursuing a career in computer science. Her education was halted when she found out she was pregnant with my sister and I. However, she never gave up on her dream. She continued working full time, taking care of us and going to college. My father worked nights as a bartender in Manhattan to help support us as much as he could. Throughout my life my parents have taught me the importance of continuing my education and the privilege I have to attend school. Every summer, I would visit my family in Colombia for 3 months at a time and I saw how different my life was compared to my cousins’. They wouldn’t go to school for weeks at a time because the teachers would be on strike. Although while young, I was quite envious of this; looking back, I realize they would not have the ability to make up those days and were responsible for teaching themselves. They did not have the same resources available to students in the U.S. Even now, that schools are closed for an indefinite time, educators are making sure their students have the necessary resources in order to succeed. My grandmother went to school up to sixth grade and then dropped out. Later on, she regretted her decision and began teaching herself by using crossword puzzles to learn new concepts. She used the only resources available to her at the time and I want to make her, and the rest of my family proud. I am very aware of the privilege I have by going to school and want to take advantage of what I have available to me especially to make my parent’s sacrifices worth it and hopefully repay them for everything that they have done.

Nicole from New York
St. John's University