owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
The nice thing about having a relatively close-knit group of classmates in my MFA program is that I don't have to feel alone in things like angrily staring at an essay for four hours without doing any work on it, or having no idea how to complete an assignment correctly, or being continually consumed by fear or self-doubt.

I think I sound sarcastic, but really I'm not. I went all the way through undergrad feeling like the only confused and incompetent and flailing person. I mean, my grades said that I was doing okay, but I assumed that this was pity and grade inflation, and it's only in retrospect that I can see that my pretty good grades were pretty good grades that I actually earned. (This is partly because I spent my sophomore year in Japan and thus went straight from 100-level classes to 400-level classes, straight from Intro to Korean Culture to Let's Talk About Semiotics and Postmodern Theory in Japanese Cinema. Flailing resulted.)

But we are in fact all in this together; we are all trying hard at things that are actually hard; and you have to realize that you can't actually be held to a standard of impossible perfection when so many of your classmates are smart and talented in different ways but not a single one is impossibly perfect.

(The impossibly perfect ones got into Iowa Writers' Workshop.)

The actually cool thing about this, though, is that when you stop thinking of yourself as confused and incompetent and flailing, you start thinking of yourself as somebody who can help out all the other people who are flailing just as much as you are.


owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)

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All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my employer

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