Posted by Rachel Colomban, Gandy Dancer Poetry Reader for 5.1
With this semester coming to an end and spring semester just around the corner, seniors are faced with a lot of questions and options post-graduation. What are you going to do for work? Are you going to grad school? For creative writing majors, there’s also the question of “how will you keep writing after school?” I’ve been looking into options, as I’m a tad bit nervous about graduating—meaning I usually get a deer-in-the-headlights look when cornered at a family gathering and asked about post-grad. I usually stutter through a plan that comes down to “hope for the best but prepare for the worst.” But aside from the normal fears, I’ve been trying to find ways to keep writing any way I can after that BA is in my possession. Some options focus more on creative writing, while others are more research or article based.
The most obvious choice for some people is to go for a MFA (Masters of Fine Arts)in creative writing. Often pricey, some people choose to put off getting their MFA for a few years. Another approach is to try to find programs that provide full funding. MFAs take two to three years, and often require graduate students to teach undergraduate courses as part of the funding package.
Writers’ retreats are a less permanent option. This is a simple(ish) option—you apply, get accepted (hopefully), and get to stay somewhere for a few weeks or months to write. Some places require that you do some work while visiting, whether it is community work or farm work that benefits the provider. Like graduate school, writers’ retreats are pricey, so these may not be ideal for people directly out of school. Most of the shorter retreats cost over $1,000, and several month-long retreats can be priced similarly to a semester of college.
And, of course, there are writing jobs to consider, as I’ve been insisting at every family gathering I’ve attended since I declared my major. Publishing and editing careers are the most obvious choice. Advertising and public relations are both writing-intensive jobs that often people don’t think of. There’s also always writing for online newspapers, magazines, and other publications. I will admit, it may be hard to find these jobs, but they’re out there, and you may need to network to find them. So talk to your alumni friends about options.