I realized something recently.
I am telling people I want to go to grad school, but I have absolutely no idea why I want to go.
Yeah. For real.
I have a list on my computer of eight schools I “want” to apply to — 4 MFAs and 4 MAs. As I study this list, all I can think is
Why am I doing this?
I know people will say “oh, you’re so good, you should be going to grad school, blah blah blah”… but if I’m so “good,” then why should I go? You know?
But after some thought and discussion, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to do this.
Here are my reasons.
– I DO NOT WANT TO PURSUE CREATIVE WRITING. Yeah, it’ll be something fun to do in my free time, and it was nice to have my workshop classes during my undergrad, but it IS NOT what I want my career to be. I don’t want to be sitting around waiting for book deals to go through and not doing much else — I want to be out there, editing, publishing, whatever.
– Majority (as in 7/8) of the schools I’m looking into have creative writing MFAs. The one school that does not is William Paterson University. Their program is titled “Creative and Professional Writing,” and has pretty much the exact courseload that I’d want in an MFA. So WPU will most likely be the only school I actually apply to.
(Side note: I am fully aware that I am totally, completely limiting myself. I am primarily looking at schools that are (a) within commuting distance of my parents’ homes, or (b) low-res/commuting distance from where the love of my life will be after our undergrads are done. Judge away, but I’m not compromising my happiness/mental stability to move somewhere new for this.)
– The GREs (or MATs, whichever I decide to take) are so. completely. inconvenient. The closest testing center to where I’m living is 3 hours away. Plus it’s a 4 hour long test. Then 3 hours back. Ugh. That’s a very, very minimal part of it, of course. But it still weighs in a bit.
– While I really, really want to continue my education, at the same time I don’t. Confusing? Yes. Part of me wants to get out in to the real world and start getting things done. Part of me wants to stay in school forever. I’m torn there.
I guess the biggest thing becomes is this really worth it for me. Is it? I don’t know yet. I have a lot of people to talk to and a lot of research to do. I think it’s generally assumed that writing majors will further their education in grad school. But does that have to be my path? Probably not. Will I be happy pursuing a higher degree? Maybe. Will I regret not doing it? Most likely, but who knows? I could also find a job that I LOVE and it’ll make grad school the last thing on my mind.
All of that said, I’m 95% sure I’ll at least apply to WPU. And if I get in, I’ll most likely go. It’s 2 years out of my life to (possibly) further myself in my industry. And it may be fun.
So I guess for now I’ll just leave it at “we’ll see”… but readers, don’t get your hopes up. After thinking it over for the past two months, I’m kind of learning that I don’t have to pursue something just because it’s the “norm”… ultimately, I have to do what will make me happy in the long run.