Thursday, August 19, 2010

and so it begins (again)

Last night, I came home to find the latest issue of Poets & Writers in my mailbox and, as if to remind me that I had not yet accomplished any of my august writing goals, it practically screamed "MFA" from the front cover. Okay, okay. I get the hint.

This month, I am supposed to finalize the list of schools to which I plan to apply for my MFA in creative writing. If you're new to The New Me, a brief recap: I have a BA in creative writing and a Masters in Library Science. Last year, I decided to apply to creative writing programs for my MFA, which has always been a dream. I applied to four schools, was accepted to the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, but had to turn them down because they couldn't offer me any funding. They were my first choice and it was a hard decision, but as I prepare for round two of MFA applications, I'm glad things turned out the way they did. The last few months have given me a chance to reevaluate my creative and professional goals, and this time I plan to be smarter and more strategic about where I apply and what I plan to get out of the MFA experience.

This year, I'm going to apply to 10-12 schools, which is the norm (albeit an expensive norm!). I'm going to focus on schools that offer both fiction and creative nonfiction, which I think might be the direction my writing is headed. And last but certainly not least, I want a school that will give me ample teaching opportunities so that I can eventually become a professor of creative writing.

Professor? Yes, professor. You see, I've worked in academia for the last four years. I've been a library assistant, a tenure-track librarian, and now a staff member in the grants office. I love working on a college campus - the rhythms of semesters suit me, and I love being around learning, research, ideas. And while I liked being a librarian, and while I like my current job, I know that I would like being a professor more. So that's the new life plan. Get an MFA, write a book, maybe get a PhD (maybe...) and then get a job teaching students the joys and pains of the written word. Sure, this plan will take a while. Years, maybe even a decade. I'm okay with that. In fact, I'm looking forward to it.

But first, the MFA. To be continued...


  1. Kudos on making a difficult decision and taking some time! It sounds like it's paying off. I applied for PhD programs willy nilly. I was living in DC, there were 6 PhD programs locally, so I applied to those 6. I didn't take the time to research the differences between the programs. It turned out well - I met my partner in grad school, so really no complaints - knowing what I know now, it was a really silly way to go about applying. And yay for university life! I love it!

  2. Write on! (See what I did there?) :-)

  3. It sounds like you are being very smart about this. I will be keeping my fingers crossed for you to get multiple offers of entrance with funding!

    I am woefully behind on my August writing goals. I really didn't anticipate having to go to four new faculty orientation sessions and two convocations since last Thursday....

  4. I was lucky that I fell into a great program at the University I was already working at, but I definitely feel you on the anxiety and nervousness because as I get close to finishing, I'm already wondering where the hell I'm going to do the PhD. It's a tough decision, and the economy definitely doesn't help. Seems like graduate program funding and resources have taken the biggest hits. Are you looking for total funding or partial? Working at the University here, we get 80% reimbursement, but can only attend part time. It sucks, but I manage.

    Good luck! I'm excited to hear more!

  5. This is so exciting! The MFA and the eventual goal of teaching, too. When I went into grad school I wasn't sure I could really handle teaching, but now I know it is absolutely what I'm supposed to be doing.

    I think it definitely helps that you will be applying to a larger number of places -- better chances to get more funding offers. I'm sure you will find a great program that will be a good fit for you. Best of luck!

  6. @QVR - I'm glad things worked out for you! And since you are Dr. QVR, they worked out very well!

    @Erica - Awesome. You know how much I love puns!

    @La Historiadora - That is a lot of meetings to attend! I hope you know I've been following your new faculty adventures with interest. ;)

    @Jessica - Funding is definitely the pits right now. Looking at schools with strong funding history will be at the top of my list.

    @Kate - I am planning to pick your brain about teaching at some point! The more professors I'm friends with, the more it seems like something I can do.