MFA in Creative Writing

“What can you do with that?”

If it’s one question, I’ve learned to come and hate, it is that one. It’s that curious tone of condemnation as someone fakes a smile and makes a face at you. The way they fake interest in what they consider to be your naïve answer as they internally shake their head at the misfortune you are willingly about to thrust upon yourself. It’s the reaction I got when I first announced I wanted to get my doctorate in communication and undoubtedly the same reaction I will receive when I finally announce my thoughts of obtaining my MFA.

 “Can’t you just buy a book for that?”

 Oh yes, those lovely MFA in your back pocket books that don’t hand you a degree for your hard work and make a mockery of an education that so many are willing to go into debt for. I will admit, I’ve stopped in a bookstore and stared at those books longingly, as if they were enough and that as I looked for a good book to download on my Kindle, I paused at them and wondered, if just maybe, they are worth it. But the unnerving truth, my truth, is they aren’t. They don’t compare to having someone giving you actual feedback on your work. Someone that isn’t a relative or significant other. Someone that isn’t shy to tell you that your work stinks, instead of sweetly smiling at you and saying they are only offering a suggestion.

 It doesn’t replace the thrill of reading something no one else has ever written before or pushing yourself to write something that you probably would have never considered before. Sure, there are plenty of novelists that have never stepped foot inside a undergrad or graduate Creative Writing course and have made millions off of the publication of their work. But there are even more individuals who have talked about this “novel” idea of theirs and have never once sat down to write it. Those people who scoff at the notion of obtaining a MFA in Creative Writing because why would you need a degree for that. 

Well, I need a degree for that. Not to show off to people or to gloat about another degree I’ve obtained, but because I didn’t spend all these years in school studying things I only had a mild interest in to not be able to finally take on classes designed specifically for me. Or rather my interests. For too long, I’ve succumbed to the dream of success as a virtue of money and it has gotten me nowhere, but more frustrated with where I am heading in life than I should be. I want to take control of my future. I don’t want it to be dictated by where the money is anymore, but instead I want it to be dedicated as to where my happiness lies.

“What can you do with that?”

Be happy- finally.

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