All posts tagged: location

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 …

Shakarean Hutchinson Introduction (Cornell University ’18)

Image: Robert Thompson It’s a weird thing, leaving the only place you have known for the first time. I was never one of those kids that moved around, not state to state or city to city or even from one house to another. My family made its home in South Carolina (many many generations before I ever came to be) and despite a few excursions out of the state I always came back-to the South, to Charleston, to home. I chronicled my application process here on the MFA Years some months before so there is no reason for another rundown, but part of my happiness in being accepted into multiple programs was that they were far away and I knew I would be getting out. There was now a justifiable reason for me needing to leave the state outside of the “want to” that was my reason before. And in the months leading up to moving to Ithaca, NY, I had been excited. I was moving across country and getting a chance to learn at …

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

Image credit: Selbe Lynn 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 definitely struggled through the post application period.  In all honesty, I think the waiting is the hardest part.  At least the writing you can control. The admissions process is unfair in that it is not a synchronized event.  Acceptances, rejections, and wait list notifications go out at different time intervals.  Some say it’s alphabetical, but the truth is that no one really knows when you’re going to hear or why.  My advice would be to avoid forums like GradCafe and MFA Draft on Facebook.  Seeing live updates will drive you to insanity.  Unless you have a letter, e-mail, or phone call, do not lose hope.  Believe in yourself.  Trust your work. What’s the best piece of advice you received about applying? “Keep the faith, Lauren.  This is a journey.  Journeys are inherently …

Location / Acclimation

The last thing my workshop professor told me as my MFA’s first semester concluded was: you get three significant breaks: winter, summer, winter—write, use them well. Then she said something about something magnificent always happening during a break, but the pressure of having to produce work was enough for me to worry about. I flew back to Florida to visit my family, naturally—to make the story short—not much work was done—(two poems?) which I feel many people would see as miraculous progress, but I tend to throw away most of what I write anyway, so who am I kidding? Someone in my program told me that Roger Reeves told them that reading is also writing, so, in any case in that sense, I was productive as hell. But, I guess, the question I’m dancing around is: how much work is expected of us in the MFA? And, where does self-discipline come in? I don’t know if it’s the classes I took this semester, teaching methods, or whether I’m just not feeling poetry at the moment, …