So. Let’s do it. Let’s talk about …
Two days ago, with the help of my family, I loaded my old apartment’s contents into a truck and then drove three and a half hours to Muncie, IN. I signed a lease for my new apartment and, with further help, unloaded everything again. Since then, I’ve been unpacking, arranging and rearranging, and making repeated trips to Meijer to buy a new shower curtain (free of claw marks), floor lamp (that doesn’t wobble back and forth), a silverware drawer divider (because my drawers are now wide enough to fit one). That, and frequenting The Cup, because I don’t have internet at home yet.
But there are more important things a few months off.
I’ll be starting in Ball State University’s two-year graduate program in creative writing. Although I was accepted to a couple other programs as well, I picked Ball State for a few reasons:
- Cathy Day. Last year, I saw her on an AWP panel about midwest gothic as a genre, where she also read a story from The Circus in Winter. Both the story and her thoughts on midwest gothic captured my interest, and my discovery that she was on Ball State’s faculty was the primary reason I applied there in the first place.
- Funding. Unlike the other programs, Ball State offered me a funding package that gives me the ability to pay for all my expenses without having to take up an outside job. My tuition is covered, and I have a stipend that will give me enough to live on comfortably.
- Teaching. I earn my funding with a graduate assistantship. My first semester, I’ll be working in the university’s writing center, as well as taking a course designed to help prepare students to teach freshman composition. The next three semesters (and over the summer, if I want) I’ll teach two comp classes of roughly twenty-five students. As much as this intimidates me (given my something-short-of-outgoing nature) I do want to try teaching. It’s one of the obvious day jobs for someone with a creative writing degree, but I figure I should probably find out if I like it before I stake my future livelihood on it. That, and it will give me an appropriate place to correct people’s grammar.
- The Mascot. While I can’t claim the cardinal is much more innovative than the eagle of my undergraduate institution, I can say this: Charlie Cardinal’s eyes have that special manic look that makes a seed-eating bird as intimidating as it can hope to be.
University events begin August twelfth, so I have some time to get acclimated, get oriented, and, if I’m lucky, even get the gas for my stove turned on. That box mac and cheese isn’t going to boil itself.