Monday, September 12, 2011

It's MFA application season

Application season for would-be MFA students lines up roughly with that of American collegiate football:

The anticipation, the planning and preparation, starts right around Labor Day weekend -- often a little before. The actual games/activity begin in September and stretches though most of the fall months, culminating in the final sendings-off of applications in the end of December and first part of January. Then there are bowl games and, for collegiate football, things are done. We wait a few weeks and then everyone goes to a Superbowl party even if they're not big on pro football because, hey, it's the only football there is for a long time, and everyone's making a big hype over it so why not?

Once the Superbowl is over, however, MFA applicants are still waiting, waiting, growing more nervous and neurotic by the day. They spend their time on the MFAblog or the Poets & Writers forums checking to see if anyone is reporting a rejection or acceptance to the schools they applied to. It is a dark few months.

Then, late-February through mid-April, the response letters and emails slowly trickle in. Rejection. Acceptance. Rejection. Rejection. Acceptance without funding. Rejection. Waitlist. Acceptance.

You jump for joy. You pout. You call your mother, wife, girlfriend, college roommate. You make plans. You worry your lip. You talk to other people. You worry some more. You get frustrated. Your buddy buys you a celebratory beer. You develop a sore from worrying your lip so damn much every day. Then you get to take a deep breath and watch the Stanley Cup finals because this application season has extended beyond the confines of a single sports season (or a single metaphor), but at least it's over ... unless you're reapplying.

In which case, you plan all summer for the start of next season.

Thankfully, for most people, this cycle does not happen more than once or twice in their life.

This week on Speak Coffee to Me, we'll get back into the MFA talk and particularly the application talk because it's that time of year and hey, I really have nothing to say about football that you can't hear on Sports Center.

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