Apprehensive in Iowa writes in...
I'm a junior undergraduate student contemplating an mfa in creative writing--emphasis on poetry. I plan to apply to the Indiana University @Bloomington, University of Iowa and the Michener Center @University of Texas among others. I'm slowly starting to realize that I might not get into these programs or any program. I don't have many contacts in the writing/academic world (besides my undergrad) and I fear that if I just stop--and start working odd jobs I won't return to graduate school or have those opportunities again. Any suggestions? I've considered applying for an English PhD because it would serve me more (according to my advisor) but my heart's not in teaching. It's in publication, editing, and writing opportunities.
Man, Apprehensive, quit being apprehensive. I've said a million times on here that you shouldn't go directly from undergrad to grad. A lot of readers will back me up on that. Pay them some attention.
Get out there in the world, whether that's odd jobs or traveling or whatever you like and can do. It will help your writing in the long run, and perhaps most importantly, and I'm sorry to sound like the old guy here: You won't have opportunities to do these kinds of things later in life.
So, work your butt off over the summers. Move to New York or San Francisco. Take an internship with a publisher. Work in a restaurant the rest of the time. Meet people. Learn. Relax. Enjoy. That's what I'd do, man-facting, if I were you. Rock on.