It’s hard to believe how different some things were a year ago. I was engaged, living in Chicago, unemployed, and singularly focused on getting into an MFA program. It seemed like everything was complicated and up in the air – planning the wedding, filling out applications and going to endless job interviews, and 18 MFA applications. I was on tenterhooks, with no idea where I might end up.
January and February were low points; I was consumed with anxiety about grad school. Until February 18, when I was accepted to West Virginia with full funding. The knowledge of that acceptance was a huge ego-boost and took some of the stress (but only some) out of the rest of the waiting process. Other acceptances and waitlists trickled in. I still wasn’t sure where I’d end up.
In March I attended the AWP conference in Chicago, which was the first time I’d ever been around such a large group of writers. It was quite an experience, visiting the book fair and attending panels and meeting old and new friends. I felt like I was taking the first baby-steps into the literary world.
In April I visited both Iowa State and the University of Kansas, and went through about two weeks of severe stress trying to figure out what school I would attend. I accepted Iowa State’s offer, only to get an out-of-the-blue offer from NC State two days after the deadline. That was probably the hardest choice I’ve ever had to make, but I am certain now that I made a good decision – I say “good” instead of “right,” because I don’t know that I could’ve gone wrong with either of those programs. All I know is that NC State has turned out to be wonderful.
Then came June. And our wedding. And all the crazy emotions that went with that. Six months out, the most amazing thing about our wedding is not that it illuminated anything particular about my relationship with Greg, but that it illuminated so much about our community of friends and family. It was a lot of work and worry, and it would have been easier for us to elope, which we did consider several times. But I’m so glad we did have a wedding, because the role that our friends and family played was so meaningful; I will carry those memories with me for the rest of my life.
In July, we went to Hawaii, an incredible trip. Then we moved from Chicago to Raleigh. Barely had we adjusted to our new life in a new city before my classes started in August. And in September we adopted our snuggly furball Zora.
Now I have completed my first semester as an MFA candidate, and I am not exaggerating when I say I loved every minute of it! The classes, the faculty, the cohort, the readings, and the writing, have been wonderful. I am motivated in a way that I don’t think I’ve ever been before. I feel like I’ve become part of a new family here, in this community of writers, and I can’t wait to start the next semester – and the year 2013.