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

When I ask myself why I chose to pursue a graduate degree, the answer becomes a mile
long. So many people believed in me, sacrificed for me, and encouraged me to be here;
following my dreams that reach beyond the stars. As a child I always dreamed of pursuing a
graduate degree. This was not for the benefit of learning more, but to gain access to better
careers. As a young adult, I feel pursing a graduate degree is much more.
Growing up my family didn’t have much but we had a lot of grit. We believe hard work
pays off and that your dreams should never be limited. One of my dreams since I was a child was
to walk into a classroom and write my name on the board with ‘Doctor’ in front of it. Having
credentials are not going to satisfy me. Being able to make my ancestors above proud is what
matters most. Throughout this journey, I’ve always found myself asking questions that only they
would ask. On the day of my undergraduate graduation, I came home after a long day of
fellowship and laid down to reflect. The question came to me in the voice of my great aunt,
affectionally named Amattie, “What’s next baby? The sky is the limit”. The only answer to this
question was graduate school.
This journey, so far, in graduate school has been challenging and I’m sure more
challenges are to come. I know that my support system goes beyond those here on earth. Earning
a graduate degree is not just about elevating my status. This degree will provide more
opportunities to give back to my community, encourage other young ladies that resemble me, and
to reap the fruits those who came before me have sown. Pursuing and earning a graduate degree
is ultimately my way of giving thanks to the people that believe in me
and have instilled so much in me. To answer the question, “What made me want to pursue a
graduate degree,” the answer is simple; to give thanks to those that came before me and
sacrificed so much to make it possible for me to follow any dream I've ever imagined.

Mokeela from South Carolina
Winthrop University