MFA Open House at USF

3 min read

I probably should have put this down earlier, but I attended the open house for graduate school in mid-November. I am looking at the University of San Francisco for Creative Writing.

Getting to the campus was an anxiety attack that I brought on myself. Okay, maybe an adventure as well, but the majority of it was a massive anxiety attack. I rented a car because I flew in from Vegas that day and wanted to tool around on my own terms. I left with plenty of time to spare. This is San Francisco, and therefore, one of the worst cities to drive in.

I got to the corner I was supposed to turn on… but then you can’t turn left on the street between certain hours. D’oh! Kept driving straight…. no legal U-turns. There was no way in heaven I was going to get a ticket for being a moron. So I drove around aimlessly as the sun fell for the day. I kept glancing at the clock and willing myself not to cry, as I so often do when things don’t turn up roses.

I turned my headlights on (like you’re supposed to 1 hour before sunset), but a friendly passerby yelled at me to turn my lights on. I waved at her but didn’t bother to sort out the light situation (oops). Having the lights on was a moot point, because by then, I had found the parking area.

The rolling hills of San Francisco are scary as hell for a newbie like me. If you’re not careful, you can find yourself rolling backwards! I swore right then and there that I would never drive in the city again. I will commute the shit out of it, but no more driving unless I absolutely have to.

Commuting will be the best way because I don’t plan on living in the city. Too expensive to live comfortably. But I have sorted out the transportation options between the city and Capitola, the city I would ideally like to settle down in. I would only have to do it two days a week, with set hours, so I hope to find a job to work around it. Hopefully by settling down in Capitola, I can also sort out the business side of things for HEAT.

The open house itself was a blur. I had a huge lunch, so I couldn’t partake in the goodies they had laid out. Made myself a cup of tea to calm my nerves. After a short greeting, they held breakout sessions for individual degree paths.

Towards the end of the session, when we went around the room and introduced ourselves and why we wanted to pursue Writing at the MFA level, I explained the reason why I was pursing a degree in creative writing is that there is only so much theory and analysis of the greats you can do before you want to do it yourself. I had never actually thought that until I said it, oddly enough.

Going for a higher degree level seemed natural. I love to learn. I may not be the greatest student, but damn if I don’t love to know things. Funny thing is that I have no aching need to be an academic, even though I’ve technically been training for it since I began my undergrad coursework.

But something they said in the meeting was the sobering reality of an MFA. You’re not gonna be famous. Your loans might be crazy. You might not make a career out of it. But there is a part of you that wants to pursue something greater, to become a greater something. That’s what an MFA in Creative Writing is. To make you better for yourself on your own terms. That is also why I want to go for it.

I have 3 things I need to do: choose 10-15 pages of work in the field I want (fiction), apply for it (they research financial aid for you), and ask 2 people for recommendations (hope they say yes).

Just need to block out some time to do them all!

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