Frustrated and (well, relatively) Well Funded writes in...
I recently finished my first year of a 3-4 year program. My question is this: what are your thoughts on transferring out of a program after two years? There has been some discussion on your blog about transfers in general, but I don't know that this has been addressed. While I am happy with what I am writing, I am not happy about where I am living and I am concerned that my unease regarding my surroundings will begin to adversely affect my writing. I should mention that, because of the amount of funding I've (happily) received from my current program, leaving without having secured a place elsewhere (or just taking a year off) would, I believe, be foolish. I'm sort of at a loss about what to do.
My first thought: A lot of people who don't receive funding would like to kick you right now.
My second thought: I'm not one of the kickers, and I have sympathy for what you're saying. Environment means a lot. If where you live is not helping your writing, then you should seriously consider making a move.
That said, I think you're going to run into some problems. Most programs are two years, and by the time you apply, you'll already have completed two years. I guess my question back to you, Frustrated, is: How's that going to work?
I don't know, so I'll give you my best practical advice: Stay where you are. Good funding is not the easiest thing to come by. And it sounds like you like the program itself too. As far as where you live: make it a priority, time-wise and budget-wise, to get out of town every break that you can. Take this mindset: While you're working, get the work done and don't worry about where you live. When you're playing, get to some place where you can play well, and that can positively influence your writing.
That's my two cents, Frustrated. I hope it's helpful in some way.