All posts tagged: Stony Brook Southampton

And Thus Concludes…

…the classroom portion of our MFA entertainment package. Last Thursday I attended the last session of my last class for my MFA. It hasn’t quite sunk in yet, but I’m done with my classes. Forever. My mind cannot fully comprehend how quickly two years can fly past. That does not, however, mean I’m ready to graduate because I still have to finish my thesis. I had hoped to have that done by now, as well, but this semester turned out differently than I had planned. Don’t they always?

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 …

Things I learned

Image: Chris Ford For the most part, my first semester at Stony Brook Southampton is over. After careful consideration, I’ve got to admit I learned more than I had given myself, or the program, credit for. But the most important thing I’ve learned is something I have to constantly remind myself of: this is a personal journey. There’s tons of bull shit in this world, and MFA programs are no exception. Who gets funding and who doesn’t, who cares and who slacks off, who writes like they mean it. I let myself get wrapped up in it. And the truth is, I was the only one who suffered for it. You’re not at an MFA program to write better than the person sitting next to you. You’re not at an MFA program to decide who should get funding and who should take out loans. You’re not at an MFA program to bitch about all the injustices of administrative bull shit. You’re at an MFA program to learn how to be the best writer you can …

Taking my voice back

Image: Antonio Bovino My first week of classes feels so long ago, I wonder if it ever happened. But the chilly autumn wind and rushing leaves confirm time has come to pass. Yet I am still the same as I was. I guess I thought being here would change me – that somehow, a truth would reveal itself and alter my entire way of thinking. I thought being in an MFA program would switch on a lightbulb in my head – that I’d suddenly have all the answers. Truth is, being here has just provided me with better guides. Throughout the application process, I felt like I was losing myself and my voice. Somewhere along the line, my submission piece stopped being my story, and just became a story. Before I came to Stony Brook Southampton, I went to work, ate dinner with my family, saw my boyfriend. Many nights, I’d lay in bed thinking, “Is this all there is? Will it be this way forever?” I still have many of the same worries today …

On Finishing my MFA

Image: waferboard In September 2012, I embarked upon a creative writing MFA at Stony Brook, Southampton. This was my first return to academic environs since my completion of an MA in sociology in 2010. In the intervening years, I taught briefly. I also attempted to write on my own. The idea appealed to me romantically—sitting down each day at my desk, a diary open in front of me, and just writing, writing, writing. Ever since my childhood, I have been an inveterate consumer of notebooks, always eager to finish one as soon as I bought it. I was, as yet, unfamiliar with the idea of revision, happy to believe that the words I had just penned would make their way unassailed to the printed page. Writing on your own is harder than it sounds, much harder. It is difficult to stick to a routine when you are your own master. It is so easy to give up and say that you have no idea what to write, that you are suffering from a mental block. …