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

I was inspired to pursue my Doctorate of Physical Therapy when I injured my knee in high school. Sports had been my passion since I could toddle around my backyard and trip over various sport balls. As I got older, I became more involved in any club and recreational sport I could find. I was extremely active in high school, playing volleyball, swimming, soccer, track, and cross country. Soccer had become my main sport, so I tried out for the soccer team, was accepted, and given the opportunity to play my favorite sport with some of my favorite people. That all changed when I tore my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in my knee. When the doctor told me I would need reconstructive surgery if I wanted to get back to playing soccer, I was devastated, frustrated, and defeated. It was a heartbreaking diagnosis that took me away from something I had loved for so long. I chose to undergo the surgery, but I couldn’t have imagined that one decision having such an impact on what I would do with my life. After the surgery, I had some physical therapy done to regain strength in my leg. I was nervous for my first visit because I was in a lot of pain and didn’t want to be moving around, but I knew what I had to do to play soccer again. After meeting the physical therapist, he wanted to ask me a few more questions and take a look. The next exchange we had is one that will always bring me joy. I apologized because I hadn’t shaved my legs, and he replied with, “That’s okay, me neither!” Throughout my physical therapy, there were days when it was painful and frustrating and I felt like giving up. Nevertheless, my physical therapist was always there to offer kindness, a listening ear, and infinite laughs. This is my motivation for pursuing my degree. I want to be a therapist who frames things in a positive light. I want to be an encourager when it is hard to reach goals. I want to make treatment plans that allow each individual to, once again, experience the things they love.

Grace from Missouri
Maryville University