Mar 27, 2009, 9:29 PM
Post #383 of 427
Re: [krystall] Writing sample exchange
It was a very hard decision but a couple things changed my mind:
1. I got a fellowship from Columbia and I felt like if I let the money dictate my decision, I think I'd regret it forever. Literally the money was the only thing keeping me from Columbia.
2. I read the faculty's work and decided that Brooklyn has terribly amazing people but Columbia's writers are doing work more along the lines of what I aspire to.
3. I'm not an agressive person and since Columbia is bigger (though the workshops are the same size as Brooklyn's) it might be better for me, to actually learn to be more assertive.
4. Also, the prestige did play apart. I talked to an agent who's been really nice to me since she sent me a long thoughtful rejection on my novel and a couple people in academia (English Professors). They said if you can stand the debt, go to Columbia. The agent in particular said she's seen more book deals come out of Columbia. Also, in terms of wanting to teach creative writing, I felt Columbia would look better.
5. I went to a workshop at Brooklyn and it was really very great in a lot of ways. The students knew what they were talking about, as did the instructor but this workshop had 9 students in it (there are only 26 students first and second years) and it wasn't racially diverse (only one person of color) and the ages seemed to stay within the 22-26 range. I'm 31, so I kind of felt a little bit too old for the program almost. Even though I know I'll probably be on the older end of the student body at Columbia (Gary Shteyngart said the median age is 27, they've got some 40s and a couple 60s though).
6. Agents and editors visit Columbia more so than Brooklyn. One student said they have agent parties, which sound like the most schmoozy networking thing in the world but there are just more connections to agents and editors there.
7. Starting last year, Columbia's doing a look-book of students' work to send off to agents.
8. If I was going to quit my recession-proof comfortable job, I felt like going to Columbia would make more sense, just look better on the resume and the program is more hard-core and immersing.
9. Also, At Columbia you can get up to 5 years, most people take the third year and that year is way cheaper than the first two years and what you do is just work on your thesis.
10. I plan on marrying James Franco! (kidding, I just wanted to end the list with 10 reasons)
11. Just thought of another one: Columbia has a lot of teaching opportunities the CA/T program sounds awesome and the internships. I know everyone says they're competitive but with teaching at least, I've heard more than one student say they don't know anyone who hasn't gotten a chance to teach.
12. Also, I think Columbia would be more of a challenge.
I worry about the money but in making the decision, I've conceptualized what that debt would look like, how long it would take to pay off and what it would mean to my quality of life. Once I give Columbia my deposit, I will not be worrying about the money because that would destroy the experience I hope to have. In one way spending that much money on a program is like insurance that you will work your ass off, take advantage of everything that comes up, push through the fear and reservations and just do it.