What I Think An MFA Is

An MFA is a non-haunted hayride in October; the appeal sort of makes sense but you wonder why people would go there in the first place.


An MFA is 10 white, straight men wearing tweed blazers, scarves and beanies in 80 degree weather, all sitting in a circle and repeating “well, actually” until the end of time.


An MFA is doing a week’s worth of work for a day’s worth of dread.


An MFA is using the ramen noodles you make every night as a metaphor for drowning the professor who called your work “trite.”


An MFA is cutting your favorite part of your work because it’s “not emotionally grounded.”


An MFA is cutting your favorite part of your work because it’s “too emotionally grounded.”


An MFA is where everyone is obsessed with Icelandic folk music.


An MFA is cheating on your boyfriend of five years with a guy in your Experimental Lit seminar because he said your work was “electric.”


An MFA is secretly getting excited when your friend tells you she has cancer because finally, some new material.


An MFA is teaching undergrads about story structure while simultaneously being told you couldn’t find story structure if you had a map, compass, pickaxe and stick of dynamite.


An MFA is crying.


An MFA is restarting your dependency on ritalin and creating a new dependency on melatonin.


An MFA is mishearing your dad say your grandma was hit by a truckload of “irony” when she was really hit by a truckload of “ironing boards.”


An MFA is actually finishing an entire issue of The New Yorker.


An MFA is your closest friend in the program describing the graduate mixer using the words “pathos,” “denouement” and “deus ex machina.”


An MFA is drinking a $6 bottle of Trader Joe’s Cabernet Sauvignon at the mixer instead of the free box of Trader Joe’s Sauvignon Blanc.


An MFA is writing the word “BOOM” 500 times on one page for a poetry assignment and your professor saying the imagery was explosive.


An MFA is befriending a tree on campus because it’s the only thing in your life not disappointed in you or your work.


An MFA is pretending to be obsessed with David Foster Wallace when you really use “Infinite Jest” as a hiding place for the “Divergent” trilogy.


An MFA is wearing the same shirt four days in a row and hiding it behind different scarves because it’s your “lucky writing shirt.”


An MFA is the guy from your Experimental Lit seminar refusing to look at you after you told him during sex that his “work” was “pedestrian.”


An MFA is three years?


An MFA is impressing everyone at your 10 year high school reunion with a glorified teaching degree while your friend with cancer already has a book published with a movie adaptation.