Friday, October 02, 2009

It never occurred to me when I returned to school how busy I would be. I am much busier than I was when I was only working 40+ hours a week. I can't remember the last day off I had where I didn't have something to read, write, or study. Though I continue to be overwhelmed by school, I feel somewhat better since I've been able to take some exams and turn some papers in and have seen my grades hover around the A-B level. It's nice to know all the studying has paid off.

When I originally returned to school, my intent had been to obtain a Master's in English so I could teach at the college level. Since that time, I have discovered a few things. One is that teaching positions are apparently incredibly hard to come by these days. The other is that, apparently, people who continue on in English academia spend the better portion of the rest of their life writing literary criticism. I won't say I hate literary criticism, but it isn't something I'm very passionate about. In general, whenever I have some sort of criticism to do, I just go through the motions until I'm done and can get it off my plate.

The thing I've always wanted to do is write, though I haven't had much time to do it over the past 15 years because working 12 hour days sort of prevents it (unless that's what you're being paid to do). Ideally, I'd love to be able to teach a few classes at a Community College and write the Great American Novel. I have a certain talent for writing and really would like the opportunity to hone it and learn more about the art of story telling. To that end, I think I'd like to go for an MFA in Creative Writing (Master of Fine Arts).

One problem is that there aren't any great MFA programs anywhere near me. The university I attend (UTA) only offers an MA in English, and the next closest (UNT) offers the same with an alternative MA in Writing. After doing some research, I've discovered what is called a "low residency" MFA program. These are regular MFA programs offered by accredited (and real) universities (my degree won't be from University of Phoenix) wherein you work remotely via internet and mail with a professor during the semester, then show up for a couple of two-week long intensive workshops during the year. I've found a couple of programs I'm really interested in and look forward to getting applications in and seeing who will take me.

Here's the thing. MA programs and MFA programs have different admission requirements. MA degrees are more academic and involve taking the standardized GRE test. Additionally, I'd need to submit a substantial piece of critical work. One of the reasons I've stayed with the Honors College, despite all the stress and extra work, is that I have to do a Senior Thesis for them which I could then use to submit with my application for an MA. Now that I'm about 95% sure I want to go for the MFA, I'm debating the merit of sticking with the program. MFA admissions are more concerned with your ability to write (in my case fiction). Instead of a weighty piece of critical analysis, they want to see 30 pages of my best fiction work. Also, most MFA programs could care less if you have taken the GRE exam. Dropping out of the Honors College would be a huge weight off my back, and would give me more time to work on actual writing. Sigh. What to do? I think I may try to stick it out this semester to take advantage of priority registration, then see if I can find out if anyone out there will even care if I graduated with the Honors certification or not.

Other than school, I can't say there's too much going on. The weather here in Dallas has finally cooled down to NOT MISERABLE and I've actually been able to ride my motorcycle to school without arriving drenched in sweat. It's nice to be able to turn the A/C off and have the windows open. In short, Kraut is squeaky, Grace is sweet, and Wally is cuddly. Sometime soon, maybe I'll have time to take some photos of them and post.

4 Comments:

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Squeaky, sweet and cuddly. I use those words to describe my dog, too!

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