Sunday, January 13, 2013

MFA Completed.

I'm not ready to write those words. Completed. Graduated. I loved every minute of being a part of Queens low-residency program.

It was a whirlwind bittersweet final fifth residency at Queens. As graduating students, we had a modified schedule - no more workshop! We did attend special topics seminars in the morning, taught by faculty including Lauren Groff, Kim Wiley, Jonathan Dee, and Suzannah Lessard. Topics ranged from publication paths, to novel structure, to the First Amendment and writers, and freelancing.

In the afternoon, we presented or attended graduating student craft seminars. Along with our thesis, Queens graduates are required to write and then teach our craft paper. It's a short session but a great experience. It's a quick way to see if you're ready for a classroom, university or otherwise. I wrote a brief overview of my craft seminar here.

Evenings were reserved for public readings, by faculty (I was thrilled when Lauren Groff read from Arcadia)  and by graduating students. Again, part of our graduating requirements include reading from our thesis. Each night was a mix of poetry, non-fiction, and fiction. Any time that we earned from not having workshop was spent instead stressing over our readings and craft presentations. And on Saturday night, we graduated.

What's next? I go back to my day job. Most of us in the low-residency world will. Some of us will try for academic positions or residencies. All of us will keep writing. Because of the nature of the low-res program, I don't feel I'm pressured to search for that tenure-track job (unless it's something you really want to do). What I will continue to do is to keep the writing schedule I've created over the past two years.

Figuring out that writing schedule was the biggest plus, in my opinion, of the low-residency model. I'm not going to be thrown in to some unfamiliar post-graduation world tomorrow. I'm going to get up an hour earlier than necessary, and in those pre-dawn hours before the day job, I'm going to put words on the page.

34 comments:

Daniel said...

Congrats!

Sheila Lamb said...

Thanks! On to more writing...

Anjali said...

Congrats, Sheila. I'm sorry we didn't get a chance to meet-- I just finished my 1st residency. Best of luck to your writing future!

Melissa Matthewson said...

Congratulations! I was just accepted to VCFA (also applied to Queens), so I'm waiting for more decisions to come, but so excited to have the opportunity to do the low-res writing programs for all the reasons you've mentioned!

Beth said...

Congrats on graduating and sticking to your schedule!

Beth said...

Did you have to do an interview for your MFA? I have an interview for a program Tuesday, and I'm trying to figure out what kinds of questions they ask.

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kg said...

congratulations. i've been following your blog now for a while trying to figure out whether i should get an mfa or not.
just recently i came across the option of getting a phd in english with a creative disertation and i just had to ask- is that the best of both worlds or the worst? everyone says go for a regualar english degree because mfa is a more risky choice. but the thought of churning out a thousand pages about someone else's work is killing me. so i wanted to know, is that option a good one? or will people just assume that you're someone who doesn't actually know what they wanted.

kg said...

congratulations. iv been following your blog for quite a while as im deciding between going for a phd in english or an mfa. recently though, i came across english phds that allow creative dissertations and i wanted to know is that the best of both worlds or the worst?
people hv told me its better to go for the secure english degree, but the thought of churning out a thousand pages about someone else's book is killing me. at the same time, i want a secure job and people say mfa can't give you that.
so what i wanted to know was is how do people look at people with english phds wiht creative dissertations? do they think you can't make up your mind?
thanks. congratulations and best of luck!

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