For as long as I can remember, writing has been my release. It has given me a chance to escape into the worlds I created: the characters became my confidants, the language my music. I know that some of the greatest works of literature emerged out of hardships, but I also know that great writers can grow and develop in programs like yours. I know that with the one-on-one attention I would receive at your university, I can be shaped into the writer I’ve always wanted to become. Being raised by my grandmother has taught me that the focus shouldn’t be on where you’ve been, but on where you’re going—and more importantly, where you want to go. I would be the first person in my family to go to college and graduate, but really I just want to be the first to truly follow his dreams. I was fortunate enough to publish a short story of mine in our school’s newspaper. I’ll never forget when my mentor, Mrs. Smith, read the story and said, “You, Josh, are a writer.” I walked home smiling the whole way, saying over and over to myself, “I’m a writer. I’m a writer.” These are words I never thought I’d be able to say, and if I am given the opportunity to study in your program, I know I can continue to prove to you, to Mrs. Smith, to my grandmother, and to myself that I really am a writer.