The time clock marking my first day at Lesley University is counting down, quickly, – but technically I’m already a Masters of Fine Art student with the work load that must be checked off before day one of the first residency. I’ve got books to read and nearly a hundred pages of supplementary material to cover as well. I need to prep my writing for the hands on workshops. Not to mention reading and providing feedback on my peer’s writing…
I can picture a select few of my friends recoiling at all this reading, but hey, that’s why I applied for my MFA; I’m a bookworm and a passionate writer. What some may think of as literary torture, I relish with girlish delight.
Okay, okay. It is not all fun and games. I’ve got to put in some serious leg work and sweat it to prepare everything on time. Still, there are some things in life that give you goose bumps and you just know, deep in the core of your chest, that these are the moments that matter and will be magic in the end. This is the time that matters, right now.
Besides the assigned readings and travel logistics, how am I preparing for my MFA? Good question!
1. I am writing about it (Thanks for reading).
2. Rubbing virtual shoulders with current students online; making friends I’m already excited to come face-to-face with during our step out of the virtual world and onto campus.
3. I’m trying to get other stuff done. Clean the office. Tie up the loose ends of projects. There’s a lot to accomplish before I can be worry free and enjoy my schooling (quiet down you who just called me a “keener.” It’s true but you don’t have to rub it in!).
4. Prep my family. My daughter knows I am going to be away. She’s intrigued by the idea of spending more time with her dad and grandparents and is over the moon about flying to Boston for a vacation when my classes are done. My baby, my sweet little unsuspecting guy – all I can do for him is pour endless hugs and kisses into every second of our time together. Hubby will be busy filling my beautifully expert mom shoes while I am gone so I’m not too worried about him. He won’t have time to miss me. I have informed my family that I will be an emotional mess of mommy love while away and that I’ll need constant encouragement to stay the course. All have been sufficiently warned.
And last and likely most importantly:
5. I’m trying to NOT think about it too much. As a writer with a constant flow of verbal commentary that quietly narrates my whole life, I’m avoiding psyching myself out. Especially as I have a graceful pull towards the dramatic, I can already imagine my inner monologue going something like this:
“Alexis Marie pushes her thick black glasses back into the groove of her nose, her eyes nearly as wide as her frames as she stares up at the tall buildings before her. She tugs at her shirt. ‘Damn it!’ she curses, hoping no one will notice her perspiration soaked underarms. ‘Day one as a grad student,’ she sighs as she searches her course schedule for the room number of her first class.
After a myriad of false starts and wrong doors, she finally sits amongst a group of people who lounge confidently, like seasoned academics, tweed coats and all. The first workshop member stands to read her work, a piece of writing about her childhood. ‘Oh crap,’ Alexis Marie’s shoulders slump. ‘This woman is describing herself as a rambunctious blond three year old… I miss my own rambunctious blond three year old back home. How am I going to get through this? I’ve been a grad student for 30 seconds!’ With subtlety so as not to draw attention, Alexis Marie slips her cell phone out of her bag and begins to search for the earliest flight back to Edmonton.”
And there you have it. That is why I do not want think too much about the wonderful/scary/exciting/nail-biting experience I am about to dive into. I know myself well. It really is better if I stay busy, remain focused on the immediate here and now – then one day, when I allow my consciousness to catch up with me, I’ll be like, “Wow, my residency has begun! I can totally do this!”
Until then, wish me luck!