This Friday, I embark on a magical journey to a faraway land called Maine. And if my current binge-watching of Once Upon a Time is any indication, Maine is a kingdom far away with ruthless pawn store owners and little regard for any actual law.
That worry aside, I'm getting my supplies ready and my homework in order to make this trek, and I would like to share my deep-seated neuroses about beginning this journey.
Workshopping Others' Work
Getting torn apart in Workshop
Being a Noob
I am so scared of coming off like a faker, like a false writer, like an idiot who just finally learned what a chapbook looks like. I have this inexplicable fear of showing up and taking one look at everyone and realizing that while I know my stuff, they all got into a secret club long ago; a club to which I received no invite. I know this is stupid, but how as an adult, do I still worry about who I'm going to sit with at the lunch table?
Being Away from Home
Not Packing the Right Stuff
Not Realizing How Stupid It Was to Worry Until It's Too Late
I've been thinking a lot about my friend. I met them --- and yes, I am using them out of respect, not out of improper grammar --- on Facebook before I moved away to undergraduate. I was so nervous, not knowing what awaited me in Chicago and this university where fancy things happened and fancy strangers attended. So I reached out, to the people on Facebook who were also going to be freshmen in the fall. This was 2006, so there was actually a spot to write which dorm you were in, and so I searched people who would be living down the hall from me.
My friend was one of these people.
Looking back on our very first conversation via chat, because we live in the world of technological ghosts, I see that we were both very nervous about leaving home and going into the great perhaps. I barely knew the person who would become my friend. They were nothing but a stranger on Facebook, and I couldn't think of a scenario where college was an actual day-to-day, real-life thing I would excel at.
Now, eight years later, my friend and I had our last conversation a week ago, before they were taken. Our last conversation, funnily enough, was about that first year of college and who we'd roomed with. We reminisced on the hard parts, but also the good parts. We didn't know it would be our last conversation.
But that conversation was full of good memories. Although we'd been nervous about moving to the city and taking on the world, we'd done it. We both found happiness. We both grew into strong adults. We both had been brave enough to take that step into adventure and friendship.
Now I feel that anxiety again, starting a new chapter and a new program. I've met people on Facebook in preparation, and I feel as if I'm about to make a whole new bunch of friends. I can't imagine my day-to-day life being in a place far away that I've never seen in a program I've never experienced.
But eight years from now, I'll look back on this list of worries, and I'll laugh. Because new adventures are always frightening, but they're always worth it.
To all of you starting your MFA Programs, may the odds be in our favor.