School Days


Well, my 7th Master’s class toward my graduate degree is almost over. We are in the last week and we are doing “reflections” about the semester. Mine are already done, but we just have to comment on our classmates as well. It feels very surreal that I am over halfway finished my degree. When I graduated Towson U. in 2009 I considered grad school, but didn’t know what to make of it. I even started an application to Hopkins that I never finished. Anyway, fast forward 2 1/2 years and I decided I wanted to go to graduate school while living here on Okinawa.

So two years ago in November 2011, I found a graduate program online through a private university called Southern New Hampshire University. I liked that the classes could be taken online with no residency program. Many of the MFA (Master of Fine Arts) programs require a residency in which the student has to go to the university or another location for 4-10 days a semester to participate in workshops during a semester or a year. An MFA consists of more writing workshops and skill sets than an MA which is more traditional schooling in my opinion. Unfortunately, an MFA wasn’t in the cards for me because I couldn’t just leave my husband, my dog and my job several times a year to fly to America. It’s expensive! That is when I came across the MA (Master of Arts) program with SNHU. It combines English and Creative Writing. Half the classes are literature and English based and half the classes are writing and publishing based so it is a solid mix. I took an English language derivative class, literature theory, three literature classes and a teaching writing class. These were all very challenging, but have opened up job possibilities so that I can potentially get a job teaching writing at the college level.

The second half of my degree program is the writing portion (YAY!) My first writing class was an elective Poetry Fundamentals <3. Since I was very young, I have always had a love of poetry and this class really fulfilled that passion again. It was challenging, but exciting and fun. It almost made me want to switch my concentration to Poetry instead of non-fiction, but I know that non-fiction is something I can do on many levels. It is what I did for two years here writing for Okinawa Living. It is also something I truly enjoy writing about (real life experience) and can see myself doing it forever. Poetry is something I can always come back to later though.

As I said before, I have just finished my seventh Master’s class which happened to be my last literature requirement. It was American Modernism and luckily for me, I had a wonderful instructor. I got to write about Hemingway and it was fun. It was definitely a challenge putting together weekly papers and discussion questions, but now that it is over I’m sort of bored! I thought for sure Sophia would arrive by now and I’d have my hands full. I’m kind of wishing there was a bit more class to keep me busy over the next week or so. Oh well….

If nothing else, I’d love to see my grades! I turned in my final paper (13 pages) and my short essay (2 pages) on Thanksgiving and I am very impatient to see how they turned out. I’ve also signed up for my next class that will start in January. I’m on the fence if I am going to take it or not. I almost did not take this most recent class (being so far into my pregnancy I was worried I couldn’t keep up) but I am so glad I did. It kept me busy and focused and put me one step closer to my goal of a degree. My mom will be arriving in January for two weeks and my Nana for three weeks so I think that I could do well to take the next class (Setting and Place writing workshop) while they are here. It is only 11 weeks long and it sounds like fun. I really don’t want to get behind again, I took a “term” off last fall because I was busy with work and now I won’t be finished until early 2015. I’ve only been taking one class at a time due to cost and time restrictions so it is taking me a bit longer than expected.

The one thing I am proud of is my GPA it’s 3.99 currently and I feel that it really reflects the time and energy I have put into my graduate work. I didn’t know I would ever be going back to school, but in the end, I am so glad I did. After my settings class and the next class (contemporary publishing) I will move on to my capstone classes….non fiction fundamentals, thesis 1 and thesis 2). It’s not necessarily a true thesis project, more like a manuscript. That’s the goal, finish with a degree and a manuscript that could be used for publication.

Maybe, I’ll be famous or maybe I’ll keep going to school forever…I don’t know. All I do know is that I will be proud to tell my daughter that I stuck with writing and that even when its tough I still enjoy the outcome.

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