One More Opinion On The MFA

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Not too far in my past the idea of pursuing a masters degree would have laughable. When I returned to school, my goal was to at least get a two year Associates degree. But when I continued to get my Bachelor’s I actually started to consider the idea of graduate school. (After a considerable break that is.) But getting an MFA hadn’t really occurred to me. It’s been suggested since graduating, but I just kind of dismissed it. It seemed like most people went for the sense of approval to be a writer and the idea of simply studying writing wasn’t appealing. I was more interested in continuing with media and culture studies. Then recently I found MFA vs NYC: The Two Cultures of American Fiction at the library. Reading it I started to see some of the advantages of attending a creative writing program. But still had some mixed feelings about whether or not it was worth the time or money.

So as I read this article, I understood the authors anxieties toward the idea of getting an MFA. In fact, reading the piece kind of felt like taking a tour of my own mind, mirroring many of my own thoughts. As Gersen points out, there is a sense of privilege associated with getting an MFA. I remember when I first found Poets & Writers Magazine, as I conjured fantasies about the programs featured in enticing ads, I couldn’t help feeling like it would only ever be a fantasy. While I’m sure some of it was a lack of confidence in my talent it was more about how distant and unfamiliar to the world I knew they seemed. I guess in a way they didn’t seem completely real, it a part of a life that was lead by people much different from me. In a way it’s part of why I never thought I could be a successful writer, or at least my idea of what a successful writer was. Getting older a lot of those ideas and images changed but nonetheless I still didn’t think an MFA would be a part of my future. I realized one that it wasn’t necessary to be a writer and two that it wasn’t much of a credential. In some ways it seemed like a luxury, one that I definitely couldn’t afford. Even now while I have taken the risk of quitting my full time job to try writing full time getting an MFA just doesn’t seem very practical. But I am starting to see the attraction. At this point it still doesn’t seem very likely but I haven’t completely eliminated it as an option in the future.

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