Saturday, April 24, 2010

Geting Ready?

So, I'm about two months away from my move and three from starting class again after a five year hiatus. I've been so focused on the details of the move (finding a place, figuring out how and where to register my car, expense calculations, student loan apps, etc.), I haven't thought much about school (finding an advisor, registering, getting books, filling out forms, etc.). And in general, I haven't done much to prepare for the MFA experience at all. I write somewhat regularly, but I mean in terms of what goes on in the classroom.

Next Wednesday I'm speaking at an Advanced Poetry class at BSU; I think it's sort of a guest speaker, reading/Q & A type thing, but I'm not really sure, honestly. I guess that's kind of prep for classroom discussions, but not entirely.

Anyways, I'm curious what anyone else is doing to prepare themselves for reentry into the academic rigamarole. Or if anyone else has things they'd suggest.


  1. I have a suggestion for once school starts. . . It's something I have finally started doing and I wish I'd done it from the start. Keep a reading journal with really good notes about everything you read for class (or, ideally, about everything you read period). Note everything--big metaphors; major themes; craft notes about settings, characters, etc.; anything experimental about form; what is effective and what isn't; how theory can come into play; beautiful sentences; anything that you want to employ somehow in your own writing; and everything else that occurs to you. I wasn't ready for how in depth our discussions about books would be, and I still can't participate as fully as I'd like to when I haven't written enough in my journal while reading.

    Many of the people in my program seem to carry around those moleskine notebook things that you can get at Barnes and Noble. They're smaller than a regular school notebook, and easier to carry around. I think they are relatively cheap, too.

    But of course I'm old and my mind is like a sieve. Maybe the rest of y'all don't need a reading journal.

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  3. I completely concur with 00625TaylorJ Duraz above me, but I am doing some things in addition to "sexy diamond sex" to get ready for graduate academia.

    I'm actually continuing straight from my undergrad to the MFA program, but there are some habits that I am trying to start before the Fall comes around. First, I have always been a terrible sleeper. Somewhere along the way, I think I forgot how to do it, and now I suffer from my terrible schedule. After this semester, I would like to get into more healthy habits like running, eating better, etc. in order to right my internal clock. I think this will be incredibly beneficial when grad school rolls around. When my body feels organized, my mind feels organized, and I do better work.

    Second, I need to start keeping a writing journal. I always start one, and then two weeks later (honestly, its more like two hours later) I quit. In fact, I've been toying around with the idea of keeping a reading and writing journal and trying to keep up with it as much as possible. Its tough for me to regiment myself with writing, but perhaps that is what I need. Anyone else?

  4. Ali--One of my professors insists that we keep a reading/writing journal. I think it is a really helpful thing to do.

  5. I was almost 10 years out of undergrad when I went back and I didn't do a lot of prep but once in I wrote daile even if just a blog and I kept a reading journal too :)

  6. I definitely agree about keeping a journal - reading and otherwise - and with Ali's comments about trying to establish healthy habits in terms of sleep, eating, exercise, etc. They will most likely fall by the wayside at some point(s) during your first year, but they're a good place to start.


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