Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Questions for contributors!

by Whitney Gray

I thought it might be fun to post a few questions to our contributors.

All of us have very different backgrounds, and yet, we've made it to the same place. It hit me today that it is September, and the end of the year is drawing closer. A year ago, I was beginning my job at a children's shoe store. (I am not even kidding.) The thought of an MFA program never really crossed my mind. I was still recovering from a hectic senior year at my undergrad, and the summer was a good time to relax. I made a few trips, adopted a cat, moved into my new place with a new roommate, and made a point not to work. But, I needed a job, and I ended up working at this store. It was fun (sometimes), and easy money (not commission-based, yay!), and allowed me to do a lot of reading. I sat in on a couple workshops hosted by my favorite professor at my undergrad, and then I began to realize I wanted to be a part of a writing program. I knew I lacked discipline and wanted a rigorous work-load and the opportunity to keep workshopping. So, now I turn to you, my fellow MFA'ers--where were you one year ago? What were you doing? Were you considering grad school at that point?

The programs are a lot of work, yes, but I would be lying if I said the MFA'ers (at least at UNCG) didn't party hard. Has anyone been to a good party (or other social gathering)? The director of UNCG's program, Jim Clark, held a barbecue the night before classes began. Many students live within walking distance to Jim's house, so we congregated in the streets, drinking beer, swapping stories and introductions, and nibbling on Jim's delicious North Carolina-style bbq'ed ribs. I find the unofficial "orientations" to be far more exciting than the official meetings. I've also attended a Mad Men-themed party, which I was more than happy to attend. (I LOVE THAT SHOW!) There is also talk of another themed party (dinosaurs! dinosaurs?), and I'm sure there are many more to come. So how have you been enjoying your time in the program? Have you been to any great parties?

I can't wait to hear your answers!


  1. You definitely sound like you're having a great time! I crack up at the tweets between you and some others in your program lol

    I'm actually shocked that I get to go to a lot of the social things and there are plenty here which is nice. There was a reception/party at a professor's house last Friday which was a lot of fun, free wine, free food, lots of great conversations and then when we went out afterward. We skipped English dept. orientation for our own orientation at a nearby bar. Then we have our weekly readings which is a great time to get together with most people. I had a good time last night really getting to talk some more with the first years in particular.

    I love how kindred spirits are all right there in the program for you.

    Great post!

  2. Oh...a year ago I was in Miami starting my final semester of the bachelor's degree I went back to school to finish in 2007 and I was in disbelief that it was finally time to start applying for MFA programs. A year ago I had no idea I would be where I am right now. It's crazy!

  3. A year ago I was living at home, having graduated in May, and realizing that I hated working for a business I didn't care about and that I would, in fact, run away to London for six months. I just got my paperwork in under the deadline. I would leave just after Christmas. I was so excited; it kept me going on those days I forgot to have the runner pick up the CFO's coke from Chick-Fil-A or almost got fired for not wearing pantyhose. I knew in the back of my mind I would apply for an MFA program; I would have plenty of time before I left. So I was very excited about multiple things.

    A few months later, I was told I couldn't go to London, but that's wasn't quite a year ago so let's not talk about it! :D At least it got me even more hyped about starting my MFA!

    I'm Joelle, by the way; graduate orientation at Emerson starts tomorrow and classes start Monday (I'm doing poetry). One perk of it starting so late is that I could soak up all your first-week wisdom! So thanks!

  4. Let's see, a year ago I had just chosen a list of 12 MFA programs to apply to (I later narrowed it down to 9). That's about as far as I'd gotten in the process.

    I have also really been enjoying the social aspect of my program; because it's such a small MFA program here at Penn, we hang out a lot with the "regular" English department grad students (the rhet/comp folks and the lit folks). They're all fun, but the MFAs definitely are a step above in the partying arena ;) I've been to an MFA party, a professor's party, a birthday gathering at a bar, a general English grad student party, and a chili cookoff hosted by 2 MFAs and one MA (which was the craziest event of all). Plus hiking, dinner, and movie nights with a few girls in the program. So, yeah, good times.....

  5. A year ago I was subletting out of my friend's apartment, sleeping on a box screen and cleaning girl's hair out of the drain in the shower I shared with my friend's other two subletters. I was also TA'ing for a writing class themed on war films. I probably had my list put together by then, though I'd add and subtract in the months leading up to the deadline.

    While classes have not started yet at OSU (and they won't for another two weeks), I have had GTA training M-F since last Monday (sans Labor Day). I have been to a couple parties (mixed MA, MFA), had a beer with all the first-year poets in my program, had a movie night, went to some gay bars etc. I really love it here in Columbus; people are genuinely very friendly and my fellow grad students rock my socks off. I couldn't be happier with my choice. Workshop can't come soon enough!

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  7. A year ago I was still the editor of a national legal magazine and hating it. I'd begun filling out my applications and was more than ready to quit my job and start an MFA program. Thank god it all worked out.

  8. A year ago, I was in the MA program at NAU and I'd already planned out every school that I would be applying to. That's what I spent my summer/most of August and September doing. Mission #1 was to get out of Arizona, and an MFA program was going to do just that.

    Yeah, have been to a few awesome parties, including a wine and cheese party and a 9/9/09 party this wednesday. We had to bring 9 of something. A few people brought 9 beers, some brought 9 cheesecake cupcakes. I brought 9 dragonflies made out of pompoms. I think people appreciated them. Everyone here is so friendly!

  9. I love reading about "where were you" stuff!
    From a grad perspective, a year ago I was working on my thesis and other items needed for my graduation in September :) Ah memories!


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