“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

As a first-generation, first-born American, I grew up believing that my motivation was derived from the self-imposed pressure to take advantage of the opportunities my parents did not have. I strove to make the right choices, to take calculated risks, and to find a way to prove that their decision to leave everything behind and emigrate was not in vain.

However, life has a cruel way of giving feedback.

My mother passed away on September 1, 2015, shortly before her 58th birthday, after being diagnosed with glioblastoma just nine weeks prior. The timing of her death, coinciding with the start of my second year at HBS, left me confused and searching for purpose. She had spent over 30 years as a geriatric social worker and unfortunately will never benefit from the services she fought so hard to provide for others.

While a place like HBS encourages you to chart your own course, my mother's death has proven that it is also possible to find happiness in carrying a fallen torch. Like my mother, I too will help people get to the "finish line" with the grace and dignity they deserve.

I will make a difference in elder care.

— Cyril Abel Vergis