Lately I’ve been thinking.

Dangerous, I know. But when you enter the can’t eat-can’t-sleep-what-am-I-going-to-do-with-my-life phase of the post graduate freak-outs, you can’t help but look for the next step. But I’m always wondering what’s next. I love my job, and I’m not leaving tomorrow, but I have been going to the same office for more than 5 years (I was a student worker at the place I am currently employed on campus) and I know the events, the schedules, the questions, the computer programs like the back of my hand. I am challenged, daily, but not in the way that lets me thrive. I feel unsettled but not uncomfortable. I want to feel uncomfortable again.

I could get another job, true. But the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about furthering my education. My Dad is on me to get my graduate degree, but as much as I love the institution that I work for, getting my masters at the same place doesn’t appeal to me as much as going somewhere different and new. New programs, new professors, new classrooms, new people. Which could do wonders for my writing.

Yes, I want to get my MFA in writing. Do I sound crazy? Because I feel crazy.

I remember reading an article once that said under no circumstances get your graduate degree unless the school is paying you to go, you are really really passionate about the subject you’ll be studying, or a master’s degree is required for the field you’ll be studying in. That literally scared the beejesus out of me. No I don’t need a master’s degree to write. I have no idea if any school will pay me to go, and I am passionate about words but I’m also passionate about sweet potato fries and The Walking Dead. How am I supposed to make a decision like that?

The reason I’m so hesitant is because applying to a MFA program is hard work. Along with your general application, you need 3 letters of recommendation from professors that admire and know your writing, a stellar personal statement (they are judging you for your writing) and a writing sample that sets you apart from all the other applicants. Not to mention most require a GRE score and a $50 application fee.

All this to (hopefully) get into a program and rack up student loan debt assuming I’m not chosen for an assistantship (which can range from teaching to working on the school’s literary magazine) and then what? Work at Barnes and Noble hoping that maybe one day I’ll catch wind from the Lena Dunham effect?

When this is typed out it seems so depressing and sad. It makes me look at my binder of information and suddenly I want to send it up in flames. And then drink a Vodka Gimlet.

But then I think about the possibility. A new town, (hopefully a bigger town) new people, new things to learn and a chance to work on my craft. I had a conversation with a friend recently and she asked me if I tied purpose and career closely together. I feel like I do and sometimes that’s a bad quality especially those days at work where I’m stuck doing data entry. But this, this is a chance to be around other artists and writers and people who can teach me about myself. A chance to leave the Edmond, America bubble and experience something different. Is it worth it? I can’t decide.

Sisters, what do you think? Do you have your advanced degrees? Was it worth it? Can you tie your purpose and career closely together? Please let me know.

I have a huge decision to make.

Mal xoxo

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3 Responses to To GRE or not to GRE?

  1. Teri Centner Teri Centner says:

    I think getting your MFA sounds like a great adventure. Especially if you could do it in a major city — or maybe abroad? As a member of the European Alumnae Chapter I often meet sisters who studied abroad either as undergrads or graduate students. It’s an experience they’ll never regret or forget. Makes me wish I had done it. How about you?

  2. Anne says:

    I agree…if its something you want to do, I say go for it. I wish I had (actually pondering about going back for my masters). Strongly recommend before you get tied down…do it and see it all!

  3. Malory, I feel your pain. I am in the situation as you. I want to go back, but I am so scared to. I have to take the GRE and I don’t know if I am up for that kind of intense studying again. I have been leaning more towards getting a certification in something. I currently have my bachelors in criminal justice, I’m not working in that field, but I am working in social work. I want to go back and get my certification in sonography and do some ultrasound work. I am nervous about it because I would have to take time off of work to take the classes. Do I need to move to an area that has this certification class offered at night? The big questions is HOW AM I GOING TO PAY FOR THIS? I know that once I have the certification, hopefully I can find a job quickly and then pay those loans back. Can I find a hospital to pay for those loans if I work for them for 2 years? I am nervous about this and I think that we all should be. But being nervous shouldn’t stop us from doing what we want. I say go for it and you won’t regret it one bit! Good luck!

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