Nov 29, 2008, 10:51 AM
Post #118 of 172
Re: [insertbrackets] Age of MFA students
This is an interesting topic which, on other forums and blogs I have taken up residence in, has elicited a tremendous amount of debate--some of it hurtful, shortsighted, and negative. I, myself, am twenty one in two short hours (I live in Los Angeles) and I hope my youngness does not count against me. If the selection process truly is based almost exclusively on the writing sample, then I don't think I will have too much to complain about. If anything, my age will work well against what I have written, because it isn't the stereotypical fodder one imagines someone my age should be writing. That is to say, no poems about drunken affairs and jitled dorm-mate lovers. I will say, though, that in my travels I have encountered a number of older applicants who have matter-of-factly stated that they would refuse to respect anyone below the age of thirty. In this whole application process, the thing that bothers me most is not my GRE scores or writing a teaching statement, it's contemplating the idea that, in the eyes of some of my classmates, my biological age (regardless of whatever my emotional or mental age is) will be a hindrance. I can't help being ready now. I've been deadset on applying to MFA's since I started college and found out there was a degree that accompanied what I wanted to be. Prolonging it any longer just seems unnatural.
(I hope this didn't come off as a caustic rant. I do not mean to offend and respect people on the basis and merit of who they are and not any quantifiable factors!)
In fairness, there are more students who are under thirty, mostly under26, in MFA programs and people ARE naturally selective about their companions and age is typcally a criteria. I found fairly harsh agiesm directed at me by the large body of the under 30 crowd. Yes, there were a few students my age who flaunted their middle age wealth and ate steak at fine restaurants while the younger students ate rama noodles and the older students refused to take the writings of the younger students seriously. Cutting to the chase here, ageism stinks, and I am not sure if there is anything that can be done to eliminate it. I was fortunate to make solid life long friends almost half my age who contnue to read my work. Good luck and hope you find a group of writers, no matter what age will encourage and challenge you.