Remember a couple weeks ago when I was dying of anticipation?

In a previous post, I detailed the daunting task of waiting to hear back from admissions committees on MFA candidate decisions. As of last week, all the schools I was waiting on have responded to me.

The results were completely unexpected.

I applied to three schools this year, telling myself this was my practice year and that I would apply to more next year after receiving three prompt rejections. The three schools were: UCSD, University of Hawaii-Manoa, and Iowa State University.


  • UCSD: Rejected
  • UHM: Accepted
  • ISU: Accepted

I think I’m now dying all over again at being accepted at two of my favorite graduate programs in all of higher education.

Hawaii’s program (actually an M.A in creative writing) is one of the most unique programs I’ve ever seen. Professors study and teach in topics ranging from science fiction to native Hawaiian storytelling, and touch on topics such as gender, sexuality, and feminism within all these media. I’m astonished and so grateful that they picked me to be one of their cohort. I would love to be a part of that amazing program.

Iowa State is another great program with an interesting focus of environment. They tend to interpret this word loosely, but it makes for an interesting mishmash of social and natural environmental writers working together. Iowa also supports multi-genre focuses and wants me to work in both fiction and drama, which is exciting!

Unfortunately, for Hawaii, Iowa offers me free tuition plus a teaching assistantship. Hawaii currently isn’t able to offer me anything but admission. That’s understandable, but I do wish I was able to consider Hawaii without financial strains.

It looks like I’ll be in Iowa next year, writing my ass off and molding young freshman minds in composition classes. I can’t wait.

P.S. If you’ve heard from anyone else who got in at Iowa State, please put them in contact with me!

Remember a couple weeks ago when I was dying of anticipation?

The Quest for Higher Education

Last fall, a friend of mine convinced me to begin applying to MFA programs for creative writing. If you look at my resume or at the classes I took in university or at the extra-curriculars I joined, it’s obvious that writing was what I really wanted to do (even if I never said it out loud) despite majoring in Math and Linguistics. I got together my best fiction and my best plays and whatever money I could spare and sent out applications.

The prohibitive cost of graduate applications is a subject for another, much angrier post.

I’m aware that my chances to be placed in the programs I want are nowhere near 100%: I haven’t written as much as my peers, haven’t been as dedicated, haven’t honed my craft like they have. But still, it’s non-0. There’s a chance. And if nothing else, I figured, this can be my test run. My situation is currently comfortable enough that I can wait a year or two to get accepted if I need to. I’m extremely fortunate for that.

Despite my non-committal, flexible attitude, I had no idea what an emotional roller coaster this STUPID WAITING PROCESS would be.

Even though I am fully prepared for the worst, there’s a sliver of me that can’t help but be way, way too hopeful and every day I don’t hear back lengthens my anxious suffering. I don’t care if I’m accepted or rejected. I just want to know. Not knowing is surprisingly and increasingly hard.

I heard from an inside source (:P, not quite a secret) that decisions to one school would be made by February 9th and letters would come immediately that week. Well, it turns out that a faculty member was away for an extended period of time and couldn’t make decisions until much later. Some time next week, probably.  l That’s totally understandable. I can sympathize with that. But on the inside, I’m screaming. There’s an immediate sense of relief that comes after news like this. I DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT IT, NOT TODAY! But then, the looming sense of dread comes again in the week leading up to the new expected deadline.

As I told a friend yesterday, venting about this:

That news was like waiting to die and then being told my disease was in remission, but during the course of treatment, I’d developed another terminal disease and was still gonna die, just a little bit later than expected.

I am being a little dramatic? Yeah, way. But it’s interesting how powerful this anxiety can be, even when my whole future isn’t immediately riding on the decision.

I’ll hear from my schools eventually. But until then? I’ll be pulling my hair out every day.

The Quest for Higher Education