MFA, Year Two: Connecting, Struggling, Beginning to See The Light

God, it’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to sit down and write some personal thoughts. My life has been a barrage of fiction, graduate school work, game reviews, editing, slush reading, mentoring, and press releases for the last six months. It’s been busy. It’s been good. I’ve discovered how far I can push myself before I start to crack from the stress of stretching myself too thin–happy to report that I have a higher threshold than I thought, but I’m looking forward to having the summer to get back in touch with some of the things that I love: traveling and photography.

I had a rough go the first year of my MFA. In fact, it was nearing Memorial Day weekend when I wrote that post, and here I am again, doing the same thing at the same time. I connected with my colleagues this year. Like, really connected. The people I’ve been in courses with for the last two years are The Shit. They are hands-down amazing people, and I’ve been so lucky to get to know them and to be around for their accomplishments. Half of them just graduated, and I want to let them know right here and now that, even if the extent of our communication becomes a passing Facebook ‘like,’ you’ve made an impression in my life. To the people that I get to see again next year, for my FINAL year of graduate school, FINAL year of higher education EVER, we’re gonna kill it.

Yeah, this past school year was great. I’ve been writing my ass off, building a journalism portfolio that I can be proud of. I’m going to E3 next month, something that I never thought would happen, something that I never knew I wanted until the opportunity came knockin’–all because I said yes to doing something new. And now I can say I am a games journalist, something that I never even considered doing for a career. But I discovered that I love reviewing games. I love breaking them down into tiny pieces and analyzing every little bit. I am the most open and vulnerable version of myself when I talk about games, and the most comfortable.

This year has still been hard, even with the social and personal successes lifting my spirits. A couple of things that I’m trying to deal with in no particular order: my dad’s health is continuing to decline, to the point where I wonder if he will need assisted living before he turns 65; I got a job rejection today that I worked my ass off for AND got my hours cut slightly at work (not enough to be threaten my financial stability, but enough to make paying off my student loans a lot harder) all within 30 minutes of each other; two friends of mine are in rehab for heroine addiction; one of those friends lost a sibling while they were in detox; more people I care about keep getting diagnosed with cancer. Fuck heroine. Fuck cancer.

Truth is, I have no idea how to deal with all this. I think part of me being so busy is because I just don’t want to think about it, so I find ways to be productive and not dwell on the things that I can’t change. Feeling so utterly useless is one of the worst feelings in the world. I don’t sleep well most nights. I have to calm my anxiety with an episode of Star Trek or Forensic Files just to fall asleep.

I don’t know how to deal with any of this, but I’m doing okay. Just know that the days I seem distant, the days I don’t spellcheck my work, the days I’m a horrible person to be around, I am trying to get through the day so I can have a better tomorrow. Cliche as fuck, I know.

Photo credit.


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