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

Growing up, I was raised by my sister’s father, who instilled in me values that I still carry to this day. He had no obligation to take care of me as one of his own, but he did. I didn’t know my own father and my mother struggled with a drug addiction. He saw that and decided to take me under his wing to provide me guidance and to teach me right from wrong. As he explained to me later in life, it was important to him to invest in the future and support someone he thought would be lost otherwise. He taught me to be caring and respectful to others, the importance of community, and to put service to others above self-interest. The person I am today and the values that shape my decisions are all thanks to him. He is my inspiration to pursue a graduate degree in Social Work.
My ultimate goal is to make the greatest impact I can in improving other people’s lives. I want to give back what I was given as a child, to provide guidance and support to those who may not have it. I firmly believe I wouldn’t have achieved the level of success I have so far if it wasn’t for his presence in my life. I want to be able to give back and provide that same opportunity to others.
I was fortunate enough to pursue a higher education, a privilege that not many have. I decided to get my undergraduate degree in Psychology because I felt like it would support my values and goals. However, when I graduated, I was still uncertain of which direction to go. It wasn’t until I entered the “real world” with my first job out of college that the vision for my future career became clearer.
I worked in a Public Health setting and through this position, I found the social aspects that impacted a person’s health interested me the most. I had the pleasure to work with different people who had a background in social work and found that this career field aligned with what I wanted to achieve for myself, and further education through a graduate program is necessary to reach my goal.

Jennifer from California
Portland State University