My last post mentioned things to fill your time till classes start this Fall. This week I will continue to pontificate with regards to preparing for that first semester as a graduate student.
For the next two + years our class will be living in the hermetically sealed bubble known as graduate school. This is our creative bio-dome were we will be working closely with a tight knit group of professors and students— as family, counselors, friends, and mentors. We are going to know each other inside and out on a creative level and as individuals. How we approach this and how open we are to this will depend on how much we get from the program and the opportunities that are available. Continuing my delusions as an All Knowing OZ I have some wisdom to dispatch from behind the curtain of this blog.
The best thing any incoming graduate can do is learn about the faculty of the program. Check out Rutgers Faculty page and research who teaches there, if you haven’t already. Make a wish list of who you want to study under. Besides Creative Writing what other interests do you have? Find the professors that specialize in those areas and talk to them. For the CW professors who teach your concentration, read their work and get a feel for what they write. Look at this as if you are researching a journal to submit to or job you are interviewing for. You need to be prepared to be able to succeed (Wow that sounded like an old PSA from Gi Joe).
Another great avenue is to talk to current MFA students. The best way to get a feel for a program is to talk to those who are in it. If you haven’t done this yet, do it now. Amy Ortiz has a list of MFA students who are willing to talk to incoming students. Send her an email for the list. These guys and gals have been in the program and can help with any specific questions or concerns you might have about the program. It was a conversation I had with Saeed and hearing his excitement and experience in the program that helped me choose to attend the program.
That’s it for this week’s meandering post. Next week I’m going to throw out some wisdom regarding living in NJ, finding jobs, and other such things I can pass on from personal experience. As always send your questions, hate, and love to firstname.lastname@example.org.