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Hard Work!

Lemire (skim Ch 2-7) -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)

"Undergraduate study, even with its majors and concentrations, is not as focused and as directed as graduate study...there are no blow-off classes in graduate school, where you will be more focused on why and how each class will serve your personal and professional goals when you graduate."

This seems to be the most exciting element of graduate school. While this chapter certainly was kind of scary in the way it depicted the intense workload and the uncertainty of how much MFA's actually help, I do think I would at least appreciate being able to study only my area of interest. As far as that "area of interest" goes, I'm still trying to figure that out. I might work on an MFA in Acting or Playwriting, because those are two subjects I am really passionate about. I want to learn the most I can about these fields, although I know full well that both these professions are very very iffy. I don't think anybody just comes out of graduate school and becomes a "professional playwright," and as far as acting goes, there are high school dropouts who go and do very nicely for themselves in that area. Yet I still think there's some way for me to make a living for myself in these two related areas, and judging from the amount of work in graduate school as Lemire describes it, getting an MFA in either of these subjects would leave me with about as much knowledge as I could possibly have. So it's an option. And unlike undergraduate school, I won't have to take classes that don't directly contribute to the subjects that I really really care about.

Comments (4)

Jara White:

hey Matt I think it's great that you're considering going to graduate school, and I must admit the prospect of studying only your chosen field is very appealing. But you can't learn everything you possibly need to learn in a classroom. Some of what you need is out there in the real world waiting for you, and you won't get that type or experience or knowlege from a book or a class.

Matt, if you get an MFA that will qualify you to teach at the college level, and that would definitely be another source of income. Plus in an MFA playwriting program you would have the chance to work with student designers, directors, and actors, who could potentially produce one of your plays (or at least a coupe of one-acts).

Jara, you are right, too. There is plenty to learn outside of school, and that's why I was glad to get your comment about internships.

Matt Henderson:

I agree with you, Jara. That's why I'm on the fence for graduate school. It seems hard to justify it as anything more than a way to set yourself up for the "fallback job" of teaching. I don't really have any great love of teaching, but with an MFA I would be qualified to teach at the college level if someday I decided that I really wanted to teach. It's harder to find venues to teach theatre-related subjects anywhere below the college level.
I am a firm believer that education really doesn't do much for you if you don't go out and get hands-on experience, and that is certainly what I plan to do. However, if I supplemented professional acting experience with an MFA in acting or playwriting, I think I could strengthen my skills considerably. I really do want to be the best actor/playwright I can be, and I hope I could be emotionally invested in graduate school instead of going there for purely financial reasons. Lemire seems to make a big point of deflating that ideology. However, this is all really hard to tell right now as just a second-semester freshman. So I'm just going to shut up right now and stop thinking about it for a little while. (takes deep, calming breaths)


hey Matt
yea you are right getting an MFA does open up more job oppurtunities and options in general for you or anyone, but like you said we have time to decide whether or not graduate school is right for you.

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