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

Stories. I am pursuing a graduate degree because the stories we tell unquestionably change the world around us and influence the world to come, and I want to be part of that influence. For every person, there are perhaps two or three stories that we take to heart and somehow manage to weld to the fabric of our very soul. These are stories that shape us as we grow and the longer a person lives, the more those stories attract other stories until you look around and realize that each person, each perspective and each thinking being, is a tapestry of stories.
The stories we tell and the stories we love make us into the people we are, and I want to help tell those stories. It's not a job for one person or one voice. Telling stories is the effort of a community and I want to begin telling stories not only to tell the stories I need to share, but to help others tell their stories as well. Each person has a different story they need to hear, a different story they need to tell, and by working within a community of storytellers, we can get those stories told together. Storytelling—whether its on paper or on screen—is at its finest as a collaboration.
I was inspired to go to graduate school because I can feel down to the quarks in the atoms in the cells of my being that I need to create. And the best thing about creating is that you can create for others. I look at all the stories I’ve read that have affected me, all the stories that make up the threads in a very mismatched tapestry of me, and I light up to realize that I can give someone else a thread. I can twist a thread so fine it flows like water, build it big and bulky and warm against cold nights. I can create a thread for someone else’s tapestry and just knowing that there’s one person out there, one single soul who saw what I created and let it touch them, makes the effort of tapestry-making and thread-spinning worth it.
I’m going to grad school to so I can start spinning stories.

Elenore from North Dakota
California Institute of the Arts