Things I Should Do Before Deciding Whether to Ever Apply for Graduate School Again

Because obviously I do not need an MFA (or PhD, for that matter) to be a writer, but I certainly would need it to teach at the university level.

The last time I applied to MFA programs, I applied to numerous programs and was rejected by all of them and was a little relieved.

At the time, I still didn’t know that I’d had OCD all my life and that mismanaging it was the number one reason I had produced such inconsistent (and sometimes heartbreaking) results in my academic career. I worried about that same inconsistency and heartbreak burdening any future studies.

Knowing what I know now, I was right to worry. Looking back it is clear to me that I was not ready for graduate school. But since getting my Bachelor’s in General Studies (because reasons), I’ve thought about going back to school again and again.

And since confirming that I have OCD subtype Sinner/Doubter, I have made a lot of progress in learning how to get done the things that need to get done. So today — because graduate school is on my mind yet again — I’m making a list of what all needs to get done to make me ready to go back to school before applying:

  1. Get a job that isn’t nannying for the purposes of saving up money as the program (yes, singular) to which I would apply would require moving which always costs money;
  2. Get a new computer which is more of a general need but I’m going to need to keep writing every day for the rest of my life so it’s necessary;
  3. Continue my work to heal my hoarding and reduce my load of possessions (including what’s in the parents’ storage unit) so as to be moving fewer things cross-country (that’s right, the program that fits my needs best is on the other side of the country, near most of my sisters);
  4. Continue iterating afternoon routines to better stay on top of deadlines shared with other people (morning is solid, midday is just about there, look to current time reminders to build a structure that works and is sustainable);
  5. Re-learn Italian because I spent all that time learning it in high school and college and I really should stick the landing already;
  6. Learn Esperanto because it was designed by a linguist to be the most neighborly of languages and studies have shown how much learning other languages is accelerated by learning it;
  7. Learn Polish because if I’m going to be required to complete a literary translation as part of my studies, I refuse to translate anyone other than Oskar Kolberg, I refuse.

Also, I’d have to take the GE and GRE, but I’m counting that as part of the application process itself.

You know, I thought this list would be longer, but seven items? That’s totally doable.

Also published on Medium.