Thursday, March 20, 2008

Heading out East...

So, I decided to buy a plane ticket to visit UNH next week for the prospective student day on Friday. I'm pretty excited about it actually. I've never been to New England, but I've always wanted to go. I think that's because I'm a Gilmore Girls fan. I think show was set in New England... I could be wrong. I suppose I'm not a big fan after all.

Anyway, I'm about 80% sure that I'm heading in that direction come summertime. I need to find a job, but I've applied for one and once I'm 100% sure about my decision I think it'll be easier. I think everything will be easier.

For other people interested in UNH, I found this blog post from the MFA Weblog:

Tuesday, September 11, 2007
University of New Hampshire, MFA

I thought I would give some basic information about UNH for those out there applying or looking to apply to schools. So far, it's been a great program. It's new, but the 2nd years are happy here, and they've been really welcoming to the rest of us. There are 100 graduate students in the English department; of that, 36 are MFAers. That's 12 in each genre, 4 per year. There's not that strange genre divide there seems to be at other schools either; I'm friends with poets and fictioneers along with my fellow nonfictioners (who are particularly awesome, I must say).

Over half the department is getting some sort of TA/GA thing, which covers both tuition and offers a stipend. As someone with one of those, I'll say that they trained us well to teach, and although it's terrifying to suddenly be teaching 24 kids, I feel confident in what I'm doing. They also have you take though, your first semester teaching, a semester-long course in teaching, and you have a teaching advisor, all of which are safe-guards against feeling overwhelmed by your role as a knowledge-sharer.

One of the great things about UNH's English Department is that they're really big on conferencing. Every student meets one-on-one with their professor of each class bi-weekly. That's really rare, and incredibly
useful. Yes, right now, when I have started conferencing all 24 of my students, it seems like a lot, but it's a great way to help me get to know them, and to help them with their writing. It will also be great for my writing to get that much attention when I start conferencing with my professors.

As far as professors, they're all totally available, even those on leave right now. They offer all the wonderful extras, like class at their houses , going out to the bar with mfa-ers after class, etc. But
it's also that the professors make an effort to really get to know us. The first time my advisor met me, she asked really specific follow-up questions to my personal essay, and to later emails I had sent her.
What's more, she wasexcited to have me here at the program. Same with how others have felt.

There's definitely an emphasis on publishing, but it's not overwhelming. I'm writing a profile for my nonfiction class, and tomorrow we have to submit a mock query letter to a real magazine, and
then the other people in the class are going to consider the proposal. Conceivably, it doesn't have to be a mock letter at all.

Oh, and the area is gorgeous. It's New England (re: foliage, Gothic Architecture) and it's on the Atlantic, next to the oldest town in New Hampshire (so it's also got charm). It's also only an hour from Boston
but still close to the White Mountains. Campus itself is 1000 acres, a lot of it trails and lakes; they rent kayaks and hiking gear for about $5 a pop.

Let me know if you have any more questions about this program. I also have friends at other programs around the country, so I can certainly rustle up information about them.

Anyway, I hope that's helpful for someone. So, I'm starting to see the light. I realized this week that it would be a huge mistake to base my decision solely on money. Sure funding is great--and I hope that I receive it in the 2nd year--but it can't be the end all for me. This is what I really want to do and I don't want to put it off for another year.

1 comment:

Speak Coffee said...

Thanks for letting me know about the google group!

What made you change your mind about the opportunity vs the funding?

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