Thursday, August 20, 2009

Another introduction

by Whitney Gray

Hi everyone!

I'm thrilled to find this blog. I think it will be a great resource for all of our future classmates. I spent a lot of time on the blogs and they were very helpful when it came to obsessing, meeting new people and finding answers.

I'm an incoming poetry student at UNCG, and I'm five days away from starting classes. I'm only a little freaked out that school is starting so soon, but I know in time I'll relax. I've had the chance to meet many students (old and new) and faculty members. I'll be doing some office work and some teaching, and really, I'm happy to do anything as long as my free ride is reserved!

I graduated in 2008 from Mercer University with a B.A. in Creative Writing, departmental honors and I ran the school literary journal. UNCG will be a great fit because they offer a lot of opportunities to get editing experience. I took a year off to work yet another writing internship, and eventually I ended up in retail yet again. The year off and steady paychecks were nice, but I'm more than ready to get into the classroom and to work out a steady writing routine.

I think that's enough from me! If you're the kind of person who likes excessively long blogs, feel free to stop over at my blog. I've set out to chronicle my years as an MFA student, mostly for my benefit, but also so my friends, family and professors can keep up with me. And hey, if I help an interested applicant along the way, that's great too.


  1. congrats on UNCG! I did my undergrad there and you will get to work with some fantastic faculty. And please stop by Yum Yum's and have a cheap but wonderful hot dog for me, for old times sake :)

  2. Good seeing your face on the blog, Whitney!

  3. Jessie, don't you worry. I've already eaten there a few times. I am a sucker for cheap food, especially hot dogs and ice cream!

    Thanks for having me, JayTee! :)

  4. Hi Whitney! Good luck with the start of classes of week. Are you doing orientation now?

  5. Emily, we had a graduate orientation that wasn't the least bit helpful. From what I can tell, orientation into the program is just jumping head first into classes and social gatherings.

  6. I hadn't even considered getting editing experience from an MFA program. Does anyone know if this is common among MFA programs? I have never seen anything mentioned about it one way or the other, but I also haven't searched very much, either.

  7. Keith, I think it will depend on the program and what it has to offer. I had editing experience with the literary journal at my undergrad, as well as several different editorial internships. It just so happens that UNCG has The Greensboro Review and opportunities to work as editors. I think a lot of programs have journals that students can work on.

  8. I just realized that was kind of a stupid obvious answer. Sorry for that. Some programs make it a point to show off their editing/publishing opportunities for students, whereas other programs like to highlight their teaching opportunities. UNCG and UNCW were two that seemed to offer a lot of chances to edit or work with the publishing process of their journals (The Greensboro Review and Ecotone).

  9. No it wasn't. If anything, I asked a kind of stupid obvious question; that's the way it works with a lot of kinds of knowledge. It's obvious, but only after you know it. :P Thanks so much.

  10. Nice to have you here Whitney! You are about to start in a few exciting. I have a month until I throw myself into the pan, but reading your dispatches will help to hold me over until then.

    And Keith, each program is different. I will be reading slush for The Journal when I move to Columbus, and the program also offers at least one fully funded position as an associate editor of The Journal every year. There is also a class on literary publishing.

    Basically if the MFA has a journal attached to it, it seems likely you will have some opportunity to work on it.

  11. Whitney:

    Welcome! I'm pretty sure I remember you posting on sethabramson's MFA blog?

    I'm excited to hear how your work at UNCG goes. I'm originally from Greensboro too, if you have any town questions. I grew up closer to Jamestown in Sedgefield and went to Ragsdale high school.

    UNCG is a school I applied to and ended up having lost transcripts and issues b/w the graduate college and MFA department, regardless of the fact that I called in Jan and February to make sure everyone had everything. This is the one program where I was really disappointed that I couldn't get a "real response" from by my decision date.

  12. Rachel--yes, I was on the multiple blogs. Glad those days are over! I'm so sorry to hear about your trouble with the school. I waited a long time for recommendation letters, and finally, I found it easier to work with my letter-writers than with the school. So, I ended up emailing a lot of "official" documents, and sending multiple copies of letters to different departments.

    When you do get to talk to the staff, they are extremely helpful and thoughtful. But, I felt like I had to do a lot of work to get the attention. In all fairness, their assistant left this year, but I don't know if that's the issue, or if it's just a complicated process with too many people involved.

    I should probably know this, but where did you end up?


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