All posts tagged: application process

April Showers Bring ANXIETY

Image: 陳 冠宇 Springtime can be confusing. The weather is friendlier, the world unfurls from its winter slumber, birds sing in the tree outside your window, etc. But this time of year also brings tax returns, looming seminar papers, and summer work struggles. For those who have braved the tumultuous MFA application process over the past few months, there are three likely mindsets at this point in the year: Sadness at knowing they won’t be sitting in a graduate workshop in the fall Pulling their hair out (with excitement/anxiety!) trying to decide between offers, or Pulling their hair out (with excitement!) figuring out living situation and moving details for August. Each position comes with its own anxieties and challenges. Each can invite a sense of futility and/or imposter syndrome. I’ve been the sad applicant, the anxiously-comparing-stipends-applicant, and the oh-my-god-I’m-moving-in-four-months applicant. I am also now a graduate student in a creative writing program, and now realize that perhaps a slice of this perspective would have placed my anxieties and worries in a more helpful context. I hope reading this …

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

Image: Nate Steiner 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? I was working at a dead-end job when I applied to MFA programs, and the applications were my respite from a toxic workplace. I didn’t stress about my applications too much and I tried not to think about when I would hear back. I just got lost in the words and in the obsession with getting my voice on the page. I was really proud of my writing by the end of the application period. Once I submitted all of my applications, I felt adrift. So I tried to find light in the darkness as much as I could. I like to cook, so I did that a lot. I took the dog for long walks on my lunch breaks and when I got home from work. Most importantly, I continued reading and revising …

Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/ccamfacomics/

Eric Wong Introduction (California College of the Arts ’18)

Image: CCA MFA Comics What exactly is an MFA in comics? It’s the opportunity to be on the cutting edge by learning and refining one’s storytelling capabilities in a medium that’s only just starting to be explored. It also means a lot of sleepless nights cranking out comics as you spend July doing a semester’s worth of work in the span of four weeks, for four courses. Then after the summer classes are done, you spend the month of August on the summer assignment which is to create a twelve page diary comic, fully drawn and inked, due literally a day before the beginning of the fall term in the first week of September. If being an MFA student is like being thrown into the deep end of the pool to see if you sink or swim, then an MFA student in comics is like being thrown into the English Channel. In winter. For someone whose undergraduate background is in creative writing and comics theory and has took only one art class since middle school, …

Alexandra McLaughlin Introduction (Georgia College & State University ’19)

On my first morning in Milledgeville, Georgia, I woke up to my sister saying, “Zig, don’t freak out, but I just saw a cockroach in the bathroom.” I’d decided to apply for MFA programs ten months earlier. It was October of my senior year of undergrad and I already felt anxious about what would come next. I’d heard countless stories about the difficulty of post-grad life—how hard it is to make friends, how isolated and lost you feel without the structure and rhythm of college. I decided a) I didn’t want to live in Minnesota forever and b) I wanted to find some sort of post-grad community. Then I discovered many MFA programs offer a creative nonfiction track, and it seemed like exactly what I was looking for. In college, I’d vacillated between a love for journalism and a love for creative writing. Creative nonfiction seemed to blend the two. If I could get into a fully-funded program, I’d have two or three years to develop my craft while getting paid to do so. I …

Gionni Ponce Introduction (Indiana University ‘19)

Image: Joey Lax-Salinas More aptly titled: How I Failed My Way into MFA Candidacy. This fall, I’ll begin Indiana University’s creative writing MFA program in fiction. It’s a fully funded program that will cover the cost of my tuition, insurance, and provide me with a teaching stipend to pay my rent and buy food. IU’s program has consistently been ranked the Top 15 in the nation and is known for supporting a diverse student body. In short, this is a HUGE blessing that is allowing me to work towards a lifestyle I’ve wanted since I was 13. Summed up like that, as any social media post might be, it really sounds like I have my shit together, right? Whatta joke. Even as I sit on my new bed in southern Indiana, writing this post and putting off prepping for my first day of class tomorrow, I feel a sense of disconnect. How can someone who made so many mistakes still end up in such a good place? I don’t want to add to the toxicity …