All posts tagged: anxiety

So You’re Waiting to Hear Back from MFA Programs: Post Application Advice With Devin Koch

Image credit: Moyan Brenn For the next two months we’ll be asking some of our first year contributors to talk about the post application period and how they dealt with it last year. What did you do to get through the post application period? That anxiousness you get after you’ve sent your applications in is always present. You’re waiting to see if you will be potentially moving across the country. That kind of news is huge! The key to surviving is diverting that anxiousness by keeping busy. I was lucky enough to be working full-time after I was done with my applications. I was one of those people who constantly checked the MFA Draft and Gradcafe. I got so obsessive that I ended up leaving the Draft and then requesting to get back in (multiple times). To those admins on the page, I’m truly sorry! For the post application period, I did mainly stress-free things: I read books, worked at my job, watched reality TV and spent time with friends. It was definitely my escape. What’s the best …

An Imperfect Guide to Balancing Work and the MFA

Image: Farid Iqbal Ibrahim My decision to pursue my MFA in creative writing was an easy one. I was working full-time and making use of my bachelor’s degree, but it felt like some key aspect of my life was missing. My creative writing skills had stagnated and I hadn’t written anything new in months. The low residency model was an obvious choice, since it would allow me to continue to work full-time while earning my MFA. I’m still glad that I made this decision, but I must admit that I wasn’t fully prepared for what was to come. I did learn that working and going to grad school online is doable, though, and I’d like to share my experience. When I started my first class of the low residency MFA program at Mississippi University for Women back in June, I was starry eyed. I worked my full-time job by day and contributed to my one online class by night and on weekends. I got an A in the class, solidifying my belief that this MFA …

Natalie Lima Introduction (University of Alabama ’19)

Photo Credit: facebook.com/AlabamaFTBL Today is the first home football game of the season. It’s early September in the Deep South—Tuscaloosa, AL—and the streets are empty because the game is under way. There are no cars on the road. No people in line at Target. There’s not much to do, except maybe write. But I’ve been struggling with this part, the writing thing. At twenty-nine, I applied to MFA programs for precisely this reason: the time and space to write. People warned me that the degree would be useless. Don’t spend a dime on it, they said. So I didn’t. I applied to fully-funded programs, two years in a row. On my second round, I got into two and wait-listed at a third. At the program I chose, I received a great diversity fellowship, and I’m earning enough money to live on. I have an apartment with giant windows and tons of sunlight. Everything is just as I wanted, just as I envisioned an ideal writing setting. Yet, for some reason, I’ve been struggling to put …

INCOMING…

INCOMING…. Every morning, I try to remember my dreams. Chicken-scratch them down. Henpecks on the grains of eternity. Ink bound in journals to carry. Everyday, I see people I want to be, but am not. Every night, I lay my head to count blessings. I’m reading and writing and teaching and more importantly, learning.  Stepping onto campus to face the second year is nothing like the first. This time last year, read it,  I was an anxious bundle of unfocused energy, still am, perhaps more so, but I now know what to expect and in some ways the pressure is more intense, one third done. Nudge. Nudge. It took one email to find another apartment. I know the names of all the streets and department members and buildings. Easier to get into the room on time, I know where to eat and when and what to order. My office desk and bookshelves welcomed my return, old mates, sisters-in-arms. I know the bike trails. Shucks, I’m second year, I know everything and can mentor the incoming …

Writer, Queer

This morning, I woke up in time—before I had to start rushing for work, before the heat turned us both into puddles—to actually take my dog on a decent walk. Titus, a corgi, loves gallivanting through his territory, a little Napoleon up against the big dogs who roll over in his presence. He loves people, especially if they have food, and he loves finding their leftovers in the grass, often gulping them down before I can stop him. As a kid, the only family dog I remember well enough to have had a bond with was a mutt named Tristan—with the colorings of a German Shepherd and the floppy ears of a Golden Retriever, plus the curly tail of a Shiba Inu, he had the attention span of a third-grader on Koolaid. While Titus’ favorite activity on walks is sucking up anything remotely edible like a vacuum sucking up Cheerios under a toddler’s high-chair, my childhood dog Tristan lived to chase cute little woodland creatures. He’d run from window to window in our house, slobbering …

On Anxiety & Writing in the MFA

Image: Porsche Brosseau “Well, it seems to me, based on what I’m hearing, that you have what’s called general anxiety.” This comes as no surprise, but the psychologist looks at me with expectation, searching for some kind of reaction to the news. I nod and look away, already crystallized with this information, a thing lived every day for my whole life. Of course I have anxiety—I have been anxious always, always worrying about how I am perceived, always brought to tears when someone dislikes me, always fixated on illnesses to the point of hypochondria. My anxiety can be cruel and self-torturing, a thing that drains me, that pulls me away from the good things that have entered my life. I collapse at a single “bad” thought—a thought that is unreasonable, hyperbolic, “crazy.” I get obsessed, my brain compelling me to go online and look at WebMD, to look at images of gore, to search the internet for any unkind opinion of myself. I indulge in my fears about death, my health, my self-perception, I see …