Grad School in GIFS

I know. I’m going to be that girl who doesn’t blog for months and months and then comes on here and is all “Oh guys, I’ve just been so busy. Is anybody even reading this blog anymore? Haha, tap tap, is this thing on?”

So instead, I will just tell you about my last few years and my time working on my MFA at Goucher College. But, you know, I have to add a little something. So this story about grad school will be told with the help of GIFS. Because I’m ready for some story telling that has more than just my words (oh my dear goodness, so many words!)

Getting a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Non Fiction involves two things really. First, lots and lots of writing.

Writing in the morning. Writing at night. Writing on your lunch break and vacations and all day Saturdays holed up in a coffee shop, begging people to come visit you, to distract you, because you will do anything, ANYTHING to procrastinate.

And when you’re not writing, you’re reading.

Great teetering stacks of books are everywhere in my house. They are on my nightstand. Scattered across my coffee table. Outside of every room, in the trunk of my car, stuffed in my sofa cushions. I wish any of those were exaggerations. I have read books about serial killers in Chicago, a girl growing up in a funeral home, elephants in a Tampa zoo and people fleeing the atomic bomb.

And the memoirs. Oh the memoirs. I read so many memoirs. And they all seemed to have one thing in common. Lurking on the page, somewhere, buried among stories of poverty and adventure, was an alcoholic. When I would find him or her, I would sigh and mumble “Seriously? Another one?”

All of that writing and reading took a lot of time. My first semester, any sense of balance was elusive. Weekends were consumed with schoolwork, and I rarely had time with friends. I would spend entire weekends in my pajamas, emerging on Monday morning bleary and unbalanced. Basically, that first semester of trying to blend everything came out looking like this:

But it did eventually get better. I made weekly social outings a priority, and gradually I found some kind of rhythm.

Writing one’s thesis is a wild journey. Some weekends, I would start so well. I would have so much momentum, would sit at my laptop and go nuts, would write pages of stuff and think:

But sometimes, you get so much momentum, that you just can’t keep up with yourself. Writing blitzes like that often ended in staggering face plants of perceived failure.

But a lot of the time, I never even got to the momentum. I doubted and floundered.

But my saving graces were my amazing mentors, my patient friends and the incredibly supportive writers I worked with. Oh, and coffee. Coffee also helped tremendously.

It’s hard for me to believe that after nearly two years, I am almost finished with grad school. A few days ago I sent my thesis off to my first and second readers and I did this:

Immediately followed by this:

Finishing up my time at Goucher is certainly bittersweet. I will miss the community of grad school, the motivation and the deadlines that helped push me to be a better writer. I will miss having a mentor who I can email with my latest question about grammar or chronology or other equally mundane tasks that I simply couldn’t think through on my own. But in the meantime, I will celebrate…

And I will revel in completing this goal before I set off on my next adventure!


7 thoughts on “Grad School in GIFS

  1. Becky says:

    Ha ha! This is hilarious, Brandy. I love the GIF of Adam Levine the most. 🙂 Okay the last one of Mindy Kaling is pretty funny too.

    And a HUGE congratulations on finishing your thesis! What a great accomplishment! I’m proud to know you. 🙂

  2. Kim Daugherty says:

    I would like to see the video of you running around, arms flailing, like Tina Fey. Just sayin’ 🙂

    I’m really proud of you!

  3. diana hume george says:

    and as one of your grad school mentors, i can vouch for everything here–this is exactly what people go through writing a master’s thesis. (and what faculty go through when they have half a dozen theses to read in a two-week period instead of two years…) brandy’s manuscript is a page-turner, beautifully written, so to her friends i’d like to say this: she’s like really smart now, you don’t even know…

  4. Andrea Rizzo says:

    Yes, yes, yes! Sometimes you do need manic GIFs to help tell the story too. I cannot believe that we are almost at the end of our journey. And to think you were one of the first folks I met at Goucher…sniff…proud of us!

  5. Bri McKoy says:

    I am DYING. Seriously. Of laughter of course! Brilliant, Brandy! Thanks for this today 🙂 Fav GIF=Honey Boo Boo because I feel like that all the time and now I have a mental image in my head of what I am trying to achieve.

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