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

There's an expectation that as one gets older, they're supposed to abandon their childhood dreams. Princesses become principals and pirates become physical therapists. Maybe the shift takes place due to a change in perspective or a lack of opportunity but there's no denying that the general expectation is that children grow up, go to school, go to college and get a well-paying job.
For a while, I thought that track was something that was both immutable and imperative. I always wanted to be a writer, but at the same time, I was terrified I wouldn't be able to make a living off of it. Like many people, I yielded for the sake of pragmatism. If I couldn't be a writer, I thought that becoming a journalist was the next best thing. So that's what I did or, at the very least, I tried to do.
I learned many lessons during my undergraduate career but perhaps the most important was that, although the fact-finding and story development processes were both interesting and rewarding, neither one of those things could replace the joy of creating my own stories. I still wanted to be a writer.
By the time I came to that realization, I already received my bachelor's degree and like most Americans, proceeded to get a job that was completely unrelated to my major. I was working in retail and on a whim decided to enroll in a creative writing class at my local university.
It was in that class I learned what a Master's of Fine Arts in Creative Writing consisted of and it blew my mind. Not only would I have the opportunity to hone my craft but, I'd be able to do so in a community of fellow writers while gaining knowledge and experience of the writing and publishing process.
So what inspired me to pursue a graduate degree in creative writing? I guess the best answer is that it was just something I was bound to do. Regardless of how much I tested other ventures, I always came back to writing and being a writer. Pursuing my graduate degree is simply a step toward making my dream real.

Jo-Anne from Florida
Florida International University