Thursday, January 23, 2014

Day in the Life of an MFA Student

I've never really done a "Day in the Life" post before, at least not officially. And since the time of my life as an MFA student and teaching assistant will soon be over, I thought it would be nice to capture a typical day while I still can. This day in particular occurred on Tuesday, January 21, 2014. 

5:30AM: I wake to the sound of the dogs circling the bed, much like sharks seeking breakfast. I invite them into the bed to buy myself another half an hour of sleep. They accept this offer. 

6AM - 7AM: The alarm goes off and Nathan and I get up. I feed the dogs, let them out, and pour a cup of coffee, which is already brewed and ready to go, thanks to Past Chrissy. Since I'm a morning person and Nathan is not, I help him get ready for work (mostly by packing his lunch and dinner - he's got a 24 hour shift on the schedule) and then I look at the Internet until he's gone and the house is quiet again.

7AM - 9AM: Pour my second cup of coffee and settle at my computer for Morning Writing Time. Today I'm working on a lyric essay that I hope to submit to an anthology about bee writing. I've never really written a lyric essay before, and I decide to combine three essays into a braided thing. After a while, it starts to resemble something with possibility .At some point, I eat a bowl of cereal at my desk (a habit I'm trying to break) and have a third cup of coffee.

9AM - 12PM: The dogs, who have been napping on the couch (Seamus) and the bed (Calvin), have started circling my desk, much like sharks seeking a walk. I usually write for as long as they'll let me, and use them as an excuse to stretch my legs and clear my mind. We leash up and walk our usual loop - 1.25 miles through the neighborhood, which takes about 30 minutes.

When we get home, I decided to tackle some chores. I clean the chicken coop, shower, fold a mountain of laundry, and wash a sinkful of dishes. Around 11AM I eat an early lunch (sprouted toast and eggs) and do some Internet chores - draft some blog posts, check the sad status of our bank accounts, answer a few emails from students and people telling me they aren't hiring, but will keep my resume on file. (Sigh...)

12PM - 1PM: Start gathering my things and getting ready for school. I stop to read through the essay again and fiddle with it for another few minutes. Then it's off to school on my trusty scooter.  

1PM- 3:30PM: I'm meeting a student at the coffee shop in the university library. She's interested in applying to the creative writing BFA program and wanted to ask me some questions. We chat for almost an hour about writing, college, family, and life. I really like this student, and I think she'd got a good shot of getting into the BFA program. I tell her she can send me her writing sample when she's ready to apply. 

After we part ways, I head back to the TA lab in the Creative Writing building. I have office hours from 2-3pm, and class at 3:30, so I use the time to go over the stories for my workshop and prep lesson plans for Wednesday. There are a lot of people in the lab today, which is fun, but distracting. I get less done than I wanted, but that's sort of the nature of the TA lab. 

3:30PM - 6PM: Workshop with Rebecca Lee and all my favorite friends! Both of today's stories are very masculine and very violent. One features a humorous stabbing, the other a deadly beating. Both discussions are great and, as usual, I learn so much about my own writing, even though I'm not the one being workshopped. I still can't believe this will be my last ever MFA workshop. (*sob*)

6PM - 9PM: After class I head home to feed and let out the dogs. I eat leftovers from the night before in front of my computer (bad habits strike again) and then I retreat to the couch to finish lesson planning for the morning. Once that's finally done, I watch a few episodes of New Girl. I needed a new show to watch when Nathan's not around since finishing Buffy and while I'm not crazy about New Girl, it's a nice, light distraction. 

9PM - 9:30PM: Let the dogs out one last time, set the coffee maker up for tomorrow, and go over my to-do list for the next day. Then I move the space heater to the bedroom and get ready for bed. 

9:30PM - 10:30PM: Read The Signature of All Things until my eyes start to droop. I'm at the part of the book where it's impossible to put down, but sleep is calling my name. I turn off the light, realize I forgot to meditate today (per my January resolution) and attempt to do so now. Pretty sure I fall asleep within five seconds.