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

Necessity and passion inspired my graduate degree. I served twelve years in the Army and was given a medical discharge due to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). My disability means that I am not able to function in a traditional office environment. I decided that I was too young and energetic to be "benched," so I turned to a hobby and passion I've had since I was fourteen. I began retraining myself to be a writer.

Now I am inspired to write stories that show the real strength of Soldiers and Veterans. I am interested in showing the complex and destructive realities that our Soldiers return to and how they overcome these new challenges. My graduate program requires a thesis of substantial literary work.

I plan on achieving this milestone by writing a collection of short stories. The individual stories will stand alone but will serve to work together to create a whole picture. I am inspired to complete this program, earn my degree, and finish Redonculous by the veterans I encounter every day. These brave men and women need more than a "thank you for their service," they need to know that there are others who have been through what they are going through.

With all of the uncertainty in the world right now, isn't it about time for art to start bringing people together? With the help of Antioch University in Los Angeles MFA program, I believe that is precisely what I am creating. And through this process, I will not only be able to give back to society, but I will also be healing my wounds.

Cari from Texas
Antioch University Los Angeles