The end of the semester, that is.
GUYS. I’m almost done with my first year of graduate school. What the heck? This time last year I was searching for apartments online, and now I’m published (just once, but it’s a start!), have a semester teaching under my belt, and I’ve made such great friends with people in my cohort.
I also don’t feel as clueless–I felt so clueless at the beginning of all of this. I had no idea what I was doing (and I still don’t sometimes), but gosh darn it, I’m DOING this grad school thing. That’s something!
I think I have a handle on things? I think?
And while the end of the semester is certainly near, I have so much to do in such a short period of time. But it’s all good–really. Sure, I’m stressed, but who isn’t? I’m so lucky to be in graduate school, to be learning so much. And I mean SO much.
My brain has grown three sizes at least.
(And, yes, I know that’s not how the acquisition of knowledge works.)
Here’s a little list of some of the things I’ve learned during my first year of my MFA:
- Grad school is a lot of work and requires a TON of multitasking. My time management skills have DEFINITELY come in handy! I know this seems like a “You think, Kaila?” kind of point, but there is truly a difference in the workload between undergrad and graduate school, at least in my experience. If you happen to be thinking of pursuing your MFA in creative writing, it’s a good thing to know you will be doing lots and lots and lots and lots of work. (Which is awesome.)
- I know very little about fiction writing, but I’m learning so much every single day.
- Teaching is so much more than the time spent in the classroom. I knew this before coming in, but you really don’t know to what extent this is true until you actually teach.
- Teaching is great and I love it. It’s also stressful, but the great stuff outweighs the stress stuff.
- Cooking at home is such a stress reliever AND a money saver. Oh my goodness, I have learned the greatness that is eating more meals at home!
- “No homework days” should not be spent feeling guilty about not doing your homework. Savor it. Rest up. (I’m still working on this one.)
- Library book sales are an incredible thing and they happen once a semester. Buy all of the books!
- Taking your dog on long, long walks helps you destress, helps your dog release some energy, and makes for a productive evening of work.
- Making friends with your colleagues means that classes are fun, offices are fun, everything’s fun.
- I love school. I knew that, but now I’m pretty sure I want to stay in school for as long as possible–teaching or otherwise.
As I finish up my last bit of writing and grading for the semester, I can’t help but be so grateful for this opportunity to learn and work on my craft. I can’t wait to see what the next couple of years bring.