Yesterday I received the exciting news that, on the merit of my writing sample and personal statement, I have been admitted to the MFA Writing program at Lindenwood University. I am just awaiting the final admissions decision from the admission department, but I’m not concerned about that at all.
I had previously been taking classes in the MA English and Creative Writing – Fiction program at SNHU. However, I found myself somewhat disenchanted with how much emphasis was put on the literature side of things, and not the writing. I’ve been enrolled since January and I’ve only taken two writing classes, one of which I found fairly unhelpful. The program also requires that you take classes on writing pedagogy, literary theory, etc that had zero appeal to me. I went back to school (when I really didn’t need to at all) because I wanted to improve my writing. Not because I wanted to read about the Russian take on literary theory or create lesson plans. I’ve been a teacher before, I’m familiar with lesson plans. That’s not to say that SNHU doesn’t have a good program. For some people, it will be perfect. If you wanted to teach community college composition or English, for example, it is probably the ideal option. Their fiction thesis is probably also well done, as my friend recently completed her YA novel through that class. However, I felt like, even in my writing classes, I wasn’t absorbing much that would improve my craft. I didn’t feel challenged. The most helpful class I took was Contemporary Writers and Publishing. It was taught by a several times published writer who wasn’t afraid to get real with us on how hard it is to make it as a writer. I already knew that being a full-time writer is probably a pipe dream, but I fully appreciated the information we got on self and traditional publishing. That said, after last semester of taking a Victorian Literature class (which was interesting and taught by a fantastic professor, just not what I want to be taking) and a Creative Non-Fiction class (which was…let’s say disappointing), and signing up for classes this semester (Another literature course and pedagogy), I realized that I had ended up down the wrong path. I looked up my degree plan and realized that I had more than half of the program left, and yet, excluding my thesis, I only had one writing class left. One! How was a grand total of three writing classes (all in different genres) supposed to prepare me to write a book-length thesis?
Thankfully, I stumbled across the program at Lindenwood. I think I found it before but ignored it because it was a longer program (48 hours versus 36). However, at this point, I had to ask myself whether I wanted to rush through and get a degree I don’t need where I also learned very little, or take more time and have a richer experience. LU’s program appears to be more writing intensive and, besides the thesis, there aren’t any required classes. You take what you want, in the order you want to take it. After spending a week in Literary Theory being so bored I thought my eyeballs would melt out, that sounds fantastic. Also, there’s the added benefit of the program being an MFA and not MA, so the degree is better (although better doesn’t really summarize that comparison very well).
Transferring programs also had the result that I will get to take a break from school until LU’s new term starts in January (I missed the admissions deadline for the fall term). Yes, this is slowing me down again. However, I spent from June 2012 to August 2013 being a full-time graduate student in my MLS program, and then only had a short respite before I started my MA in January 2014, so a break actually sounds really nice.
So, to make a long post short, starting in January I will be a Lindenwood Lion. (FYI, lion is my favorite animal.)