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

In 2017, I was officially diagnosed with depression. Growing up, I suffered from these symptoms, never knowing the cause. I felt like life had no meaning and that I had no purpose to be here. Throughout the years, I started forcing myself to go to counseling, but I always found that after I told my whole life story, I ultimately never witnessed any changes. I jumped from therapist to therapist, trying to find someone that took the time to truly understand me and my personality.
In 2012, I met Axel. Axel was so innocent and young, and he needed someone to teach him and protect him while he grew up. Once a four-legged puppy, Axel, gave me a reason to get out of bed every morning. Axel is grown and much older, but we still enjoy our time together. Now we volunteer with a local Animal Assisted Therapy Program. Through a series of training and tests, Axel and I are now a certified Pet Partners team. We spend our time at nursing homes and hospitals. To educate the population, we often attend conferences and outreach events. Seeing how much of impact animals have made, and continue to make, on the lives of people we visit has given me a new sense of drive to share the caring ability of animals with my community.
I am now enrolled in the Master’s program in Social Work in order to advance my knowledge of mental health, as well as, learn innovative ways to help individuals who suffer from similar problems. I believe that going on to becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker will give me the ability to directly help members of the community in need. After obtaining my master’s degree my career goals are to educate my community on the positive effect of animals on humans, be a supportive pillar to those battling similar difficulties in life, and act as a voice for all of the individuals without one. Even today, Axel still gets me out of bed each morning. The one thing he may never understand is no matter how much he may need me; I will always need him more.

Bailey from Arkansas
University of Arkansas at Little Rock