At the end of the road… (MFA application season)

I can say, wholeheartedly, I am so thankful for this grueling process, but more so thankful that (THANK GOD) I don’t have to do this again for another year. In mid-February, I was ready to pull myself up from my depression (getting rejected is tough!) and start writing again. But when I wrote, I wrote shit. I don’t know, I just wasn’t in the right state of mind.

So enough’s enough. Luckily, at the end of the race, I was accepted at four wonderful programs. Here’s the final tally:

Accepted:

  1. University of San Francisco (call from Stephen Beachy)
    Received no funding, but could work full time.
  2. The New School (via snailmail)
    Received a departmental merit scholarship ($5,500) but tuition and the cost of living in New York is high, really high. Could also work full time.
  3. Mills College (call from Stephanie Young)
    First, received the Place for Writers assistantship and need-based scholarship. Tuition is high at Mills because it’s a private. Today, I heard the news that I’ve been offered the Narrative Writing and Community Engagement assistantship, which provides a two-year, full-tuition waiver. You cannot believe how happy I am!
  4. San Francisco State University (via online application status)
    Haven’t heard back yet on funding, but I like how SFSU is a three-year program and how ‘hella’ cheap it is! (Can I say that word yet?)

Rejected: 7 schools. Still waiting for my last rejection. C’mon UCI.

I’m at work right now, but later I’ll talk in depth on how I feel about this whole process. It’s really, really hard. Believe me when I say that. But if you want to be a writer, you’ll have to get used to this kind of lifestyle. It doesn’t stop. After the MFA, you’ll apply to fellowship after fellowship, residency after residency, literary journal after literary journal, publisher after publisher, and on and on. Rejection is a given in the writing life. I can say, though, I was drowning in my self pity in the beginning. After an appropriate time of mourning, I picked myself up and kept running. I didn’t know it, as it took time for me to see the results, but the rejections made me stronger. It made me a better reader with a more critical eye. I didn’t just read for enjoyment anymore. I read every short story and essay and poem with the thought: “How did they do this? How did they make it work?”  It also humbled me, which is what I needed. Lastly, it made me stand firm on my ego. As I learned throughout these past months, you need an ego if you’re going to be a writer. The notion that you think your words are worth reading, are worth something to say to the world, you’ll find that that’s the kind of ego you’ll need to hold onto, steadfastly. Without it, you’ll succumb to the rejections, time after time.

Okay, I need to get back to work. Just know I’m SO excited. You have no idea. <3

5 thoughts on “At the end of the road… (MFA application season)

  1. Congratulations! All are strong, but I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for Mills. So many of the wonderful people I’ve met through VONA are (or have been) there. And that assistanceship sounds great!

  2. congratulations melissa! how exciting that you are really pursuing the literary life. i’m working a regular ol’ office job, but i’ve started writing again. i’m developing my confidence too cuz it’s definitely hard when you don’t have like-minded people around to support you. fight on~

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