With the start of classes about a week away I’ve been giving more thought to what I can expect to get out of my experience at Rutgers Newark –rethinking, over analyzing, re-reading my work, and talking to friends who have finished a MFA to make sure I am prepared for what to expect at Rutgers Newark. Many articles have been written about the realities of graduate school vs. the concepts incoming students have. This blog posted one such article last week. Despite the grim realities of debt, fierce competition for university positions, and very little chance of notoriety or money, thousands of students every Fall send out manuscripts, letters of recommendation, etc in hopes of getting into that mystical world of an MFA graduate. For those of you preparing to attend, myself included, we now have our dream, but what are we going to do with it?
On one level or another we all are sacrificing something to be in this program –putting other aspects of our lives on hold, finances, time, and so on. We are subjecting ourselves to intense schedules that demand production: multiple reading assignments, essays, workshops. We will consistently be competing with ourselves to improve our art, pushing ourselves and our abilities beyond what we thought we could. How will we handle the stress of having our work dissected and reconstructed, frowned upon, and on occasion, cheered? There will be self doubt and possibly tears (private or public) and yet we wait for September with a sense of excitement for what the next two plus years will hold. Again, what are you going to do with it?
The best advice is to have confidence. Out of the hundreds that applied, you were one of the few chosen. Other than that just spend the next week writing and reading, thinking of what you can do to improve your art, and have some fun.