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rpc
ryan call

Oct 1, 2007, 1:08 AM

Post #76 of 172 (7316 views)
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Re: [bennyprof] Age of MFA students? Can't Post

yes bennyprof
i did not mean to sound cranky or sarcastic;
i did appreciate your "for most" qualification (though i didnt acknowledge it in my response: my apologies).

and while i dont see any danger in this kind of discussion about age, i just feel as though it should be very minor to any other concern a potential applicant might have, thats all.

sorry i keep repeating myself on this thread


<HTMLGIANT>


__________



Oct 1, 2007, 10:59 AM

Post #77 of 172 (7294 views)
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Re: [rpc] Age of MFA students? Can't Post

No one knows the average age of MFA students. The AWP doesn't keep track. That magical 28 number came from Tom Kealey, who simply asked a few buddies who said, "Yeah, I guess that seems about right."


six five four three two one 0 ->


Clench Million
Charles

Oct 1, 2007, 12:42 PM

Post #78 of 172 (7277 views)
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Re: [bennyprof] Age of MFA students? Can't Post


Quote

I can second your thoughts on age and writing. For most, the early 20s are too soon. There's a sort of intangible intellectual maturation process that happens during the mid-20s (at least, it did with me). Not sure how to put it into words, but I suspect is has something to do with patience, discipline and a sense of balance. Vague enough for you? Ha! Though this is by no means a universal thing. Pynchon wrote V. when he was 21-22, a staggering literary achievement for an author of any age and a prime example of someone writing well beyond his years. Then again, Pynchon is a genius. Different rules apply.


You know, its funny, but I was talking the other night to some people (a few were MFA students, others were in the working world but had gone to other non-artistic grad programs) and those people seemed to think it is often the older students who are less mature.
Tending to talk down to peers, or view everything as competition, etc. So I'm not sure how accurate the stereotype of young students being more or less immature is. The stereotypes seem to be conflicting and both are probably wrong.

The individual should judge for themselves if they are ready to go to grad school or not.

(note: edited this to be more clear as I can see how it was offensive before. Apologies.)

Anyway, I'm also a little confused by the argument you are giving (which strikes me as the standard argument). If I follow it correctly, the argument seems to be saying that because young people are not mature enough/don't have enough experience they won't be able to write truly great works of art and thus they should wait to go into an MFA program.

Now, I think I can agree with the first two premises there. Certainly we can say young people don't have as much experience and most of the best work comes from writers in middle age and very few good books are published by people in their early 20s. However, I don't think this means you should wait to go to an MFA program. The MFA program is not there to make you publish a book. Very few people come out of an MFA program and publish a book a few months later. An MFA program is there to help you build the skill sets and understanding of craft to allow you to write good fiction for the rest of your life. Ideally the skills you learn at 22 will still be with you at 32 and 72.

So, in that sense, it seems to me actually preferable to go to an MFA program young. If you go in your early 20s you will have a few years gaining skills and having practice (and you will have less pressure to write a publishable book whiel there, allowing you to experiment widely) then graduate in your mid-20s. You will still be young and less burdened by the need to settle down into a career and you will be able to write and hone your craft over the next few years while hopefully publishing some work in magazines. Then by the time you are in your late 20s/early 30s you may have a great book or two ready to be published.

Seems like a good plan to me. This is of course not to say that one should be worried about going to an MFA program later in life. But given that the MFA program is normally viewed as being about giving you the skills that will last the rest of your life and that most students wait at least a few years to publish a book, I don't see the huge advantage in going in your late 20s or 30s. Go when your writing is ready.



(This post was edited by Clench Million on Oct 9, 2007, 7:16 PM)


bennyprof


Oct 1, 2007, 1:14 PM

Post #79 of 172 (7267 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Age of MFA students? Can't Post


Quote
Anyway, I'm also a little confused by the argument you are giving (which strikes me as the standard argument). If I follow it correctly, the argument seems to be saying that because young people are not mature enough/don't have enough experience they won't be able to write truly great works of art and thus they should wait to go into an MFA program.



Not what I'm saying at all. My use of the word 'maturity' was in reference to a sense of control and balance of thought that I, personally, didn't possess in my early 20s. It has nothing to do with behavior or attitude, and life experience isn't really the crux of it either. Again, I wasn't trying to make a sweeping generalization (although looking back on it I can see how it looks that way), I was merely pointing out that a lot of people might not be ready to produce publishable material yet... and I can't stress enough the yet in that statement.

Admittedly, my opinion is at least somewhat biased because of my experience in an undergraduate setting. I've gone back to school for my 2nd undergrad in English (the 1st was in business), and sitting through upper-level fiction workshops has probably colored my perception of writers of that age. Even with the most serious among them, their stories lack that intangible roundness and sense of control you find in good writing. The talent is there, without a doubt, but it simply hasn't matured quite yet. I'd hate for them to immediately apply to a dozen MFA programs only to be turned down by all of them, then inaccurately attribute that failure to a lack of talent when the true problem was one of development.

The more I think about it, though, the more I agree with rpc and yourself. If you're serious about your writing, go for it. What have you got to lose? People develop at different paces. One guy's 22 might be another guy's 40. There's no universal standard when it comes to these things.


Quote

Now, I think I can agree with the first two premises there. Certainly we can say young people don't have as much experience and most of the best work comes from writers in middle age and very few good books are published by people in their early 20s. However, I don't think this means you should wait to go to an MFA program. The MFA program is not there to make you publish a book. Very few people come out of an MFA program and publish a book a few months later. An MFA program is there to help you build the skill sets and understanding of craft to allow you to write good fiction for the rest of your life. Ideally the skills you learn at 22 will still be with you at 32 and 72.

So, in that sense, it seems to me actually preferable to go to an MFA program young. If you go in your early 20s you will have a few years gaining skills and having practice (and you will have less pressure to write a publishable book whiel there, allowing you to experiment widely) then graduate in your mid-20s. You will still be young and less burdened by the need to settle down into a career and you will be able to write and hone your craft over the next few years while hopefully publishing some work in magazines. Then by the time you are in your late 20s/early 30s you may have a great book or two ready to be published.

Seems like a good plan to me. This is of course not to say that one should be worried about going to an MFA program later in life. But given that the MFA program is normally viewed as being about giving you the skills that will last the rest of your life and that most students wait at least a few years to publish a book, I don't see the huge advantage in going in your late 20s or 30s. Go when your writing is ready.



All good points. "Go when your writing is ready." The discussion could simply be left at that. I couldn't agree more.



(This post was edited by bennyprof on Oct 1, 2007, 1:18 PM)


Clench Million
Charles

Oct 1, 2007, 1:29 PM

Post #80 of 172 (7260 views)
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Re: [bennyprof] Age of MFA students? Can't Post

I should have been a little more clear in my first paragraph. I knew that wasn't what you were talking about, I just thought it was funny that I'd literally been in a conversation about that two nights ago.

Anyway, I totally agree with what you are saying on the roundness, but I guess I still maintain that for most people the MFA program is time to experiment widely and gain new skills. Since it is a bit of an apprentice type thing, I don't see it mattering much if your projects and stories aren't fully realized. Hopefully the skills you gain there will stick with you for when you are ready to write rounder stuff.

Like I said, yes most people might not be ready to publish material yet... but most MFA students won't be doing so anyway. Most will be publishing their books years later.


jlgwriter
Jeanne Lyet Gassman

Oct 1, 2007, 2:05 PM

Post #81 of 172 (7254 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Age of MFA students? Can't Post

As someone who is entering a low-res MFA program in Dec. and who is old enough to remember several Presidents before Bush and Clinton and Bush (again!), I would say there are multiple factors that contribute to "readiness" for an MFA. The decade of my mid-20s to mid-30s was one filled with personal crises and serious health issues. Intellectually, I could have handled the demands of an MFA without a problem; emotionally and physically, I was a mess.

So, to the statement: "Go when you're writing is ready."

I would add: Go when your life is ready.

Jeanne


http://www.jeannelyetgassman.com
http://jeannelyetgassman.blogspot.com


Clench Million
Charles

Oct 1, 2007, 4:43 PM

Post #82 of 172 (7228 views)
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Re: [jlgwriter] Age of MFA students? Can't Post


Quote

So, to the statement: "Go when you're writing is ready."

I would add: Go when your life is ready.

Yes. Totally. I definitly should have said that. Don't rush the MFA experience or push it back out of some fear of going to early or late. Go when your life is ready.

And I should also add that while I don't see anything wrong with going to an MFA while young, I will say that it is probably a good idea to take at least a year or two off between college and grad school, just to get yourself out of academia for a bit. They stick you in school as soon as you can crawl and you probably don't want to be in school from 6 till 24 without any breaks.



jacarty
Jessie Carty

Oct 1, 2007, 6:17 PM

Post #83 of 172 (7212 views)
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In Reply To

Quote

So, to the statement: "Go when you're writing is ready."

I would add: Go when your life is ready.

Yes. Totally. I definitly should have said that. Don't rush the MFA experience or push it back out of some fear of going to early or late. Go when your life is ready.

And I should also add that while I don't see anything wrong with going to an MFA while young, I will say that it is probably a good idea to take at least a year or two off between college and grad school, just to get yourself out of academia for a bit. They stick you in school as soon as you can crawl and you probably don't want to be in school from 6 till 24 without any breaks.



The first quote is perfect

and the 2nd quote, I think is true too. As much as I wanted to do grad school right after undergrad I think it was better I worked in the "real world" first. i do wish i had gone back at like 25 or 26 instead of waiting till i was 31 but sometimes the decision is hard to make, and the committment.

everyone is different though, i spent a lot of time with a girl who was 22 and right out of her undergrad who totally was supposed to be in the program. and when i worked in a corp environment i had people in their 50's who never showed up to work on time so hey...age doesn't matter :)

--jessie


http://jessiecarty.com


silkfx2004


Oct 1, 2007, 8:01 PM

Post #84 of 172 (7202 views)
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Re: [jlgwriter] Age of MFA students? Can't Post


In Reply To
As someone who is entering a low-res MFA program in Dec. and who is old enough to remember several Presidents before Bush and Clinton and Bush (again!), I would say there are multiple factors that contribute to "readiness" for an MFA. The decade of my mid-20s to mid-30s was one filled with personal crises and serious health issues. Intellectually, I could have handled the demands of an MFA without a problem; emotionally and physically, I was a mess.

So, to the statement: "Go when you're writing is ready."

I would add: Go when your life is ready.

I couldn't agree with this more ...and I thought I'd chimed in on this topic the first time around, but I hadn't, so... I was 40 years, 2 months, and a little over a week old when I began my first semester. I had been thinking about getting an MFA since my late 20s. If I had gone in my 20s or even my early 30s, I would have drank / partied a LOT more, cared a LOT more about what my peers and teachers thought about me (not just my writing but about me as a person), and been a LOT more affected by their opinions. Physically and intellectually I was in fairly good shape, but emotionally...not so much. Now, I have a LOT (heh) of appreciation for the experience. No, it wasn't perfect, but then nothing is. And I was just telling a new student that, although I do try a little, I don't have a lot of tolerance for people who bitch (overly much) about the program. I'm always thinking: Well, you COULD be sitting in a cubicle somewhere...or commuting an hour and a half to work...or staying up nights with a sick kid. (I don't have kids, but there are people here who do, along with spouses. THEY'RE the ones I'm in awe of, regardless of their age.)


--------
Nobody but God gets it right the first time. Everybody else has to rewrite. --attributed to Stephen King

(This post was edited by silkfx2004 on Oct 1, 2007, 8:02 PM)


toadvine


Oct 2, 2007, 4:41 AM

Post #85 of 172 (7160 views)
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Re: [silkfx2004] Age of MFA students? Can't Post

Writing is a craft. The earlier you begin studying that craft, the better. Nobody would suggest that engineers wait five years out of undergrad before attending graduate school, in order to better attain "life experience," and therefore be better engineers. My experience has been that life experience is wildly overvalued by aspiring writers, which is one of the reasons why so many workshops are full of thinly veiled autobiographies in which an idealized version of the writer triumphs over oppressors real and imagined.

In other words, one of the advantages of going to grad school early is that you make your mistakes earlier. And I don't think life experience is as important as many tend to make it sound, unless we're talking about nonfiction. One of the biggest steps in maturing as a writer is realizing that your actual life is not that interesting to anybody else. You have to make it interesting, which is done via craft.


Yugao


Oct 2, 2007, 10:00 AM

Post #86 of 172 (7145 views)
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Re: [toadvine] Age of MFA students? Can't Post

I just turned 31, so if I get into a program this year, I will be almost 32 when I start. I'm not sure if there is really an ideal age. I know someone who completed an MFA program when she was in her early twenties, and she feels that she was not yet emotionally mature enough to handle the criticism her work received. But, that's her. Other people might be ready at that age, and my experience in workshops has shown that some people are never ready for constructive criticism.

I have been writing steadily since I was about 23, but I don't feel that my writing at 23 or 24 would have granted me admission into a competitive program. It perhaps showed some potential, but it would (I'm guessing) have been far less sophisticated than most of the writing samples in the pool. I feel I have come a great distance since that time and I'd like to go yet further, hence my desire to enter an MFA program.

My work is not autobiographical, except in the most oblique of ways. I don't discount life experience, but I'm not sure one has to attain a certain age to have enough perspective to write about life. Flannery O'Connor said, "Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days." The point is to draw insight from whatever experience one has.

I'm not sure the apprenticeship of writers and engineers can be compared. Writing is a much more subjective discipline. Yes, writing is a craft and there are types of writing that could objectively be called good or bad. Once past that level though, writing involves elements of taste. Writing requires intense observation of life, both broad and small insights. If becoming a good writer was merely a matter of amassing a large vocabulary and becoming expert on the rules of grammar, I could compare it to something as fact-based as engineering. But I think writing is something entirely different.


Amethyst


Oct 2, 2007, 4:26 PM

Post #87 of 172 (7110 views)
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Re: [bennyprof] Age of MFA students? Can't Post

As someone who is finishing an MFA at age 45, I must say that this topic really cracks me up.

I have to agree that age is irrelevant. What's critical is a willingness to learn.

All the best.

Amethyst


toadvine


Oct 2, 2007, 8:03 PM

Post #88 of 172 (7077 views)
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Re: [Yugao] Age of MFA students? Can't Post


In Reply To
I'm not sure the apprenticeship of writers and engineers can be compared. Writing is a much more subjective discipline. Yes, writing is a craft and there are types of writing that could objectively be called good or bad. Once past that level though, writing involves elements of taste. Writing requires intense observation of life, both broad and small insights. If becoming a good writer was merely a matter of amassing a large vocabulary and becoming expert on the rules of grammar, I could compare it to something as fact-based as engineering. But I think writing is something entirely different.

I can certainly see your point, and your post is well said. But when I spoke of craft, I meant a whole truckload more than vocabulary and grammar. Obviously, writing and engineering are different in a lot of ways, some of them fundamental, as you say, but I disagree that they're entirely different. I think young writers would be well served to treat their craft as young engineers do, rather than occupying themselves with the subjective and rarefied aspects of it. I just dislike this whole romanticism of writing as an ability you acquire by traipsing around the globe or raising kids or discovering some hidden and innate talent, as opposed to doing it simply by reading a hell of a lot and studying the craft and -- this part is, oddly, often overlooked -- actually writing! I think the other notions hamstring a lot of aspiring writers. I was one of them. Sometimes I wonder if I still am.

As everyone else has said, the best age is entirely relative. You seem like a great example of how taking some time before the MFA can benefit a person's writing going in. I entered an MFA at 23 and am now 28. I think I progressed as much in those two years of grad school as I would have in eight or ten years of figuring it out on my own. Now, three years out, I'm finally getting to the point where I think what I'm producing is consistently worthwhile. Of course there's no way of knowing, but I feel like I wouldn't be at this point yet if I hadn't done an MFA when I did.

I'm not sure there's really any wrong age at which to enter an MFA. An honest effort at a decent program should do wonders for anybody's writing.

Best of luck on your applications, Yugao.


boody


Oct 4, 2007, 1:15 PM

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Re: [Clench Million] Age of MFA students? Can't Post



You know, its funny, but I was talking the other night to some people (a few were MFA students, others were in the working world but had gone to other non-artistic grad programs) and everyone seemed to agree that within grad programs it is the older students who tend to be the most immature. The ones who brown nose the teachers, talk down to their peers, back stab, view everything as competition, etc. Of course, that's not talking about artistic skill, but just thought it was funny and interesting.


WOW! That *is* funny and interesting! And a helpful stereotype to boot. Thanks a mill. :)


ejdifili
Emily

Oct 4, 2007, 9:53 PM

Post #90 of 172 (6961 views)
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In Reply To
Nobody would suggest that engineers wait five years out of undergrad before attending graduate school, in order to better attain "life experience," and therefore be better engineers.


I see your point, but we have to remember that the arts constitute a unique situation.

The people I know who earned graduate degrees in engineering ended up earning $75K to over six figures almost imediately. On the other hand, I've known people who completed MFAs and then couldn't even get a decent job with benefits. Why? Because it's very difficult to get hired full-time on the skills of writing poems or short stories and maybe being able to discuss some 20th century American literature.

I know this sounds critical, but I speak from experience. I completed an MA in Spanish lit almost directly after undergrad (I took one year off) and then had to string various part-time jobs together for months before I landed any kind of stable employment. The reason for this was because my main qualifications were the ability to b.s. about literature and theory, and that was with the advantage of a second language. Having spent so much time in academia, I had almost no valid information about what was necessary to get a job in the outside world; I thought I could walk out with my MA and straight into an awesome, full-time teaching position somewhere. Ha! It has now taken me 2 years and lots of night school to earn educator certification and even hope to make a living wage, but at least I'll have something to fall back on after I do my MFA.

In summary (and I have posted this before), I would suggest to people who are seniors in college and contemplating going right into an MFA to consider how they will pay the bills afterword. If you have an undergraduate degree in something "marketable," then you will probably be ok. If not, then you might at least think about the possibility of taking some time off and exploring viable career options.

As someone else stated, grad school is not the real world. In grad school, everything you do is directed toward improving yourself and your own work. In the real world, everything you do is directed toward benefitting someone else: the company you work for; the students you teach; whoever. Having to hold down such a "selfless" job also teaches you higher standards of professionality and accountability, which can serve you well once you do go back to school. I have seen people go into all kinds of graduate programs just because it seems like a logical extension of undergrad, and it's easier to continue in academia than to venture into the unknown of the professional world. I think those who have spent some time working tend to have more appreciation for the graduate experience and may therefore get more out of it.

All this being said, I did in fact go into a grad program at age 23, so I'm not in a place to criticize the young people who plan to do the same. I'm only sharing my experience.


toadvine


Oct 5, 2007, 1:16 AM

Post #91 of 172 (6939 views)
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In Reply To

In Reply To
Nobody would suggest that engineers wait five years out of undergrad before attending graduate school, in order to better attain "life experience," and therefore be better engineers.


I see your point, but we have to remember that the arts constitute a unique situation.

The people I know who earned graduate degrees in engineering ended up earning $75K to over six figures almost imediately. On the other hand, I've known people who completed MFAs and then couldn't even get a decent job with benefits. Why? Because it's very difficult to get hired full-time on the skills of writing poems or short stories and maybe being able to discuss some 20th century American literature.

I know this sounds critical, but I speak from experience. I completed an MA in Spanish lit almost directly after undergrad (I took one year off) and then had to string various part-time jobs together for months before I landed any kind of stable employment. The reason for this was because my main qualifications were the ability to b.s. about literature and theory, and that was with the advantage of a second language. Having spent so much time in academia, I had almost no valid information about what was necessary to get a job in the outside world; I thought I could walk out with my MA and straight into an awesome, full-time teaching position somewhere. Ha! It has now taken me 2 years and lots of night school to earn educator certification and even hope to make a living wage, but at least I'll have something to fall back on after I do my MFA.

In summary (and I have posted this before), I would suggest to people who are seniors in college and contemplating going right into an MFA to consider how they will pay the bills afterword. If you have an undergraduate degree in something "marketable," then you will probably be ok. If not, then you might at least think about the possibility of taking some time off and exploring viable career options.

As someone else stated, grad school is not the real world. In grad school, everything you do is directed toward improving yourself and your own work. In the real world, everything you do is directed toward benefitting someone else: the company you work for; the students you teach; whoever. Having to hold down such a "selfless" job also teaches you higher standards of professionality and accountability, which can serve you well once you do go back to school. I have seen people go into all kinds of graduate programs just because it seems like a logical extension of undergrad, and it's easier to continue in academia than to venture into the unknown of the professional world. I think those who have spent some time working tend to have more appreciation for the graduate experience and may therefore get more out of it.

All this being said, I did in fact go into a grad program at age 23, so I'm not in a place to criticize the young people who plan to do the same. I'm only sharing my experience.


I see your point as well, and it's certainly a good one. But nowhere in my original post was I discussing job prospects -- I was speaking of the craft/talent issue.

The job prospects are another matter entirely. Although really, I doubt many people anymore apply to MFAs with the notion that they'll walk out and get a great job. If they do, then those people are delusional or naive. Every available resource, and there are many -- including this board, and even the MFA programs themselves -- will tell them that's not the case.

I think your take on grad school perhaps overstates its case. A lot of current MFA applicants will spend a lot of their time during graduate school as cheap labor for the universities they attend, teaching undergraduates for meager pay. It's far from two years of uninterrupted self-improvement. If you take your classwork and your writing seriously in an MFA -- and especially if you teach -- it feels a lot like a job. I think the patronizing "you haven't seen the real world" crowd tends to both mythologize the corporate job and to idealize the graduate experience. I did the cubicle bit after the MFA, and I didn't feel as if my life got a whole lot harder.


__________



Oct 7, 2007, 1:28 AM

Post #92 of 172 (6904 views)
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Re: [toadvine] Age of MFA students? Can't Post

I think it's kind of a false choice. Schools decide when you're ready. If you've got the chops, then you've got the chops. If not, it's not an issue.

My big writing regret is those few years of 'experience' -- I drank! I went to Europe! I slept with hookers! -- when I wasn't actually writing. At 21, I figured I'd improve by 'living' a little. Shockingly, though, I got better with practice. And the funny thing is that life still went on during this practice. It was the weirdest thing, I'm telling you.


six five four three two one 0 ->


rpc
ryan call

Oct 8, 2007, 10:11 PM

Post #93 of 172 (6846 views)
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Re: [toadvine] Age of MFA students? Can't Post

i think its funny that people say grad school isnt the real world.

what they really mean is that going to grad school is not like having a 9-5 job. this is kind of obvious, right?

point is, both of these experiences/"jobs" are a part of the real world.


<HTMLGIANT>


piratelizzy


Oct 9, 2007, 2:10 AM

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Re: [boody] Age of MFA students? Can't Post


Quote
within grad programs it is the older students who tend to be the most immature.


I don't know what to make of this. Is this like, mmm, Bizarro World we're talking about here?

I have a number of older friends and I have to pointedly disagree about age being a predictor of immaturity. Sheesh. I suppose it's not backstabbing to go online to trash one's older colleagues? Honestly...


'sup?!


mpagan


Oct 9, 2007, 1:18 PM

Post #95 of 172 (6782 views)
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Re: [piratelizzy] Age of MFA students? Can't Post

I agree - I find the tone this discussion has taken is sort of strange.

On the one hand it just airs a whole lot of insecurities people have about their careers as writers. On the other hand, it devolves in mean-spiritedness with innuendos about older students being venal or bitter.

None of that seems particularly helpful, or in the end interesting.

For anyone clicking into this forum, the best answer to the question is:
There is no real average age of MFA students. It varies widely. There is no real preference on the part of schools. If you're a young, 20-something, don't worry that you don't have anything vital to say, just say it and apply. If you’re over 30, don't worry that you’re working against a clock, or that you’re working at any disadvantage, or that you have an advantage because you've lived in the world longer.

Just apply and write. Write, write, and write.

The best age is the age when you decided to write for the rest of your life.


(This post was edited by mpagan on Oct 9, 2007, 1:28 PM)


HopperFu


Oct 9, 2007, 1:24 PM

Post #96 of 172 (6779 views)
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Re: [mpagan] Age of MFA students? Can't Post

I absolutely agree. There is an eighteen year range in the students in our program.
The one thing I would add (or subtract since it's a negative?) isn't necessarily about age, but do NOT go for an MFA program if you're doing it because you're not sure what else to do.


aiyamei


Oct 9, 2007, 4:08 PM

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In Reply To
do NOT go for an MFA program if you're doing it because you're not sure what else to do.


But isn't even this questionable? One of the purposes of education is to teach us about ourselves and our capabilities -- many people won't know whether they have it in themselves to be writers if they don't try out the MFA.

Secondly, writing is a form of seclusion, of deep thought. Attending an MFA program might be just the thing for someone who is in a life crisis and doesn't know what sort of life he/she wants to pursue -- the equivalent of going on an extended retreat.

I am speaking as a writer who does not have an MFA but is nevertheless committed to the novel-writing enterprise as a vocation, but who, a few years back just out of college, had one heck of a hard time orienting herself toward the future. I think an MFA might have helped.


bighark


Oct 9, 2007, 4:38 PM

Post #98 of 172 (6747 views)
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Re: [aiyamei] Age of MFA students? Can't Post

Bullpucky.This is art school, not therapy.


Clench Million
Charles

Oct 9, 2007, 6:53 PM

Post #99 of 172 (6724 views)
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Re: [piratelizzy] Age of MFA students? Can't Post

I guess I wasn't clear with my comment. I didn't mean to be endorsing that view, by saying it was funny that people on here were making claims about younger MFA students when I've heard people make the same about older MFA students, I meant that you should be ignoring all these kinds of comments and stereotypes. Often the stereotypes are completely untrue and people's stereotypes tend to be contradictory.

You shouldn't avoid going to grad school when you think you are ready because some people online like to claim young writers are too immature or that their writing isn't ready yet or what not.

You should ignore all that jazz.

Apply when you feel like your life and your work is ready. And go when the programs think your work is ready (ie, they accept you).


(This post was edited by Clench Million on Oct 9, 2007, 7:09 PM)


alishein


Oct 10, 2007, 1:35 PM

Post #100 of 172 (6665 views)
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Re: [bighark] Age of MFA students? Can't Post

I agree with Bighark. And to also add from personal experience - I just completed my MA in Fiction at a program designed for students who work full time. Throughout my two years there I was constantly frustrated by students in the program who were obviously not serious about it. I found that I was getting minimal written feedback from various students (most of my professors wanted a typed response to workshop stories rather than just relying on notes on the manuscript and discussion) or they would just never give me any written critique. Which, of course, was all very annoying to the serious students in the program because we made the time to read their work and to always have a thorough critique ready for them on time.

I also found myself reading the same unrevised stories in different semesters because people never bothered to write anything new. I always wondered why people bothered to waste the tuition.

And bullpucky is now my favorite word.

Ali

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