So I think I want a Masters degree?
I’m at the awkward age of 32 when you begin to over analyze every aspect of your life. Do I have a career (or just a job), am I happy in my relationships, do I need to be worrying about marriage and children, Do I make enough money, am I planning for my retirement, should I be thinking of buying a house?
With a Bachelors degree in Anthropology, I was qualified to do very little, mostly dig in the dirt as a grunt on a team of seasonal archaeology techs or tell people I had a degree in Anthropology. Now I’m not saying that I regret my choice, on the contrary, I loved every minute of it. But, I don’t feel like I was left with any real sense of direction after school was over and student loans were due.
Full disclosure, I have about 40 thousand in student loan debt. Can we say, OUCH!!
It’s crazy to think about that number and not immediately run head first into the working world to try and pay it back, justify the cost of my education. I couldn’t even think of going back to school for another 2-3 more years, I got it into my head that school was officially over and it was time to work and be an adult.
Fast forward to the present (6 years later), and while I don’t have everything figured out, I do know this.
It’s all subjective, there are no rules, and failing is better than not doing!
Life is really this game where everything is made up, and the points don’t matter. So have fun, kiss the girl (or boy), write the terrible novel, make the movie, and play that damn guitar that has been collecting dust in the corner.
Bonus points to whoever gets my British tv reference.
My moment of aww screw it was, deciding to go back to school and work towards a Masters degree in creative writing. I did weeks of googling, reading blog after blog on the subject of the elusive MFA. Shakespear wasn’t kidding when he said to be or not to be, people were extremely divided on this topic. It was almost a clear split down the middle, half of the professors and professional authors thought the MFA was a complete was of time and not useful in developing a successful writer, the other half thought the degree program had significant value and was worth the time and money. So it was up to me.
Part of the process involved in applying to these programs (as some of you may know) is to write out an essay detailing why you want to get an MFA degree, and how you plan to apply this to your future career choices. Basically, tell us why you love writing enough to spend another 2+ years in a classroom and what will you do after you leave (and don’t say, teacher).
Now I’m sitting here, in front of my computer again trying to answer that same question I avoided 6 years earlier. What am I going to do once I leave school? How will I make this degree work for me and give me the career I want?
This is the part where I google career options for people with an MFA in creative writing.
Huffington Post has an article (What Can You Do With a Creative Writing Degree) published initially on Quora about this very question, and I recommend taking a look if you need inspiration, it helped me. I probably fall into the journalism/freelancer category, while also being interested in the publishing industry. So for me, this degree will help to propel me forward in my writing, build connections and give me access to the schools in-house publishing opportunities.
This career path may not be the safest route, but I can’t see myself doing anything else. I can continue to work in an office reporting to a boss and filing papers. But what I really want is to take the risk and put my words out there for people to read.
I would love to hear about your aww screw it moment, did you start that novel? How did it go for you? What did you learn? And, don’t forget to follow me on twitter @AlishaKwrites