I have officially survived my first week of graduate school.
Honestly? It was pretty painless. First days generally are, I think. Mostly we talked about the expectations for each class and then got started with the material. Each class requires 4-6 hours worth of reading, but they’re also all once a week (and I’m a fast reader, which helps). Fiction Workshop started immediately, so I actually have stories to critique for next Thursday. Exciting! I love workshops.
(Obviously, or I wouldn’t be getting an MFA).
Contemporary Publishing is an ever-changing course about the American publishing industry. We’re going to be talking a lot about ebooks, small presses, and POD publishing. Appropriately, I think, I’m using my iPad to store all the readings for the class instead of printing them out. We’re also going to learn how to be good editors.
Structure of Verse is required by the department (as is Structure of Fiction in the spring). In this particular incarnation, we’re going to talk broadly about the nature and structure of Art. Including some anthropological (prose!) readings. Eventually we’re going to funnel our studies into poetry and its forms.
And what might be the best thing of all…NO EXAMS! \o/
My classmates are pretty consistently from the MFA program. Contemporary Publishing is about 50/50 with the MA/PhD English students. Structure of Verse has a couple of MA students. Otherwise it’s all familiar faces.
Traditionally, on Thursdays after workshop everyone (including the professors) heads down to the bar across the street from the building to hang out. We had a few drinks and then a few people decided it would be fun to go out to dinner and then a few turned into eight and then eight turned into twelve or thirteen. Or half the program, in other words.
And, of course, the usual weekend potluck party. This time I brought guacamole. Which was utterly destroyed. I might have enough to spread on a sandwich today.
The social culture is odd because I get the sense that your average MFA student isn’t all that outgoing. By nature, I’d say most writers are introverts. And yet, everyone I’ve encountered anyone who is fun to talk to and fairly friendly. The second years are very welcoming. The professors are approachable. It’s still all unfamiliar but I don’t think it’s going to stay that way for long.
Sustainable living notes for the week:
- I walked to class and meetings every day. When we went other places in town, everyone carpooled.
- I drove 5 miles round trip to get to the grocery store.
- As the temperature decreases, I’m adjusting my AC use. When it’s nice enough and there’s a good breeze, I just open the window instead.
- Paper use is going to be my major concern this semester. Two professors specifically want printed out copies of required readings. I’ll do my best to limit the quantity by using double-sided copying/printing.
Posts for the coming week: electric bills, rataouille, battles with bugs, and ethically themed science fiction.