All posts tagged: stress

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 …

On (Not) Writing in a MFA Program

[photo cred: Jorgen Kesseler] When I came to IU, I was assigned a MFA mentor, Willy Palomo. Before long, our relationship shifted from mentor-mentee to a friendship of mutual support. It was at the end of this semester, as we were commiserating together over ice cream, that Willy shared a nugget of wisdom, “I feel like every three or four months in grad school, I’ve become a completely different person than before.” When I think back to my life in August compared to now, I have to agree. They say that the first semester of graduate school is the most difficult. For me, the day-to-day schooling (showing up to class, doing assigned readings, participating in discussion) wasn’t the problem. My classes were set up similarly to those I took in undergrad. Since it’s only been a couple of years since I was there, slipping back into that schoolwork routine was natural. Yet, this has been my most difficult semester of school ever. By the end of it, I was truly unhappy. I only had to …

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 …

So You’re Waiting to Hear Back from MFA Programs: Post Application Advice With David O’Connor

Image credit: Giovani Racca 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? Ah waiting, waiting, waiting–is a choice. I applied to 10 programs from Rio de Janeiro. I was single, teaching ESL and managing an Irish Pub. The World Cup had just finished and I had enough savings to walk away and write. I found a position through Workaway that would cover my room and board for four hours of daily labor. I picked the remotest, most beautiful place that would have me and went there to write a novel. I ended up writing poems and reading too much Bolano. I could not put down 2666, which says much about my mindset. I applied for fiction but now I only wanted to write poems. I was anxious and angry. I wrote some good stuff. The rejections started to roll in and I almost bought a fisherman’s …

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

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 signed up to take a self-defense class. It was my last semester of undergrad, so it was an “easy” credit hour, but it conveniently allowed me to punch and kick things every time the waiting got to be too much, or when I got another rejection from a dream school. The physical activity helped clear my mind and press reset. Staying busy with other things, as hard as it may be, is much more useful than researching when your schools notified over the last ten years or checking Draft for the millionth time. What’s the best piece of advice you received about applying? I was lucky enough to have several great mentors. They all independently told me not to pay for an MFA. Fully funded or bust. I know this is standard advice, but the fact …