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

I remember the first time I saw my grandfather walking with a cane. As he approached me, his strides seemed a little shakier than I had last remembered, and his smiled seemed a little less radiant. I was told that it had been due to his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, and that it had been affecting him at a rapid rate. As the years went by, I watched my family’s world flip upside down, as my grandfather was the glue that held us all together. Due to his Parkinson’s disease, my grandfather’s hands and legs uncontrollably shook, his attention span had diminished, his hands were too shaky for him to write, and he gradually lost his ability to walk, leaving him wheelchair bound. However, through all of the constant struggles he encountered on a daily basis, his speech and inability to swallow were the things that I watched take his identity away. By the time my junior year of high school rolled around, it was time for me to decide what major I wanted to place on all of my college applications. As I pondered this, I reflected on what my goals are in life, what I am most passionate about, and what I want to take away from my future career. I realized that my life long goal would be to rehabilitate or help cure people’s speech and swallowing disorders, that are taking away part of their identity, like I saw happen to my grandfather. My firsthand experiences with my grandfather’s rapid speech decline, dysphasia, and motor deficits led me to my current graduate school career choice- a speech-language pathologist. The fifteen years I was able to spend with my grandfather and his progressive disease have made me a more hard-working, dedicated clinician. The impact my grandfather made on my life is what continuously motivates me to work so hard and continue my success in my field of study each day. As I enter into my second year of graduate school, I am still continuously reminded of why I chose my career path. My grandfather deserved a voice. Everybody deserves a voice.

Morgan from Pennsylvania
East Stroudsburg University