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Have I made the wrong decision?


BionicKris

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Hello Everyone -

Let me start by saying that I haven't been on the forum in quite a whilesad.gif. I've missed you guys! Now, on to the meat...

I'm currently enrolled in an interdisciplinary biology program that I thought I would absolutely love. My plan was to get a PhD so that I could teach at the undergraduate level and mentor to students interested in pursuing degrees/jobs in the sciences. To sum it up, I hate my program for a variety of reasons. My question for the Cafe world is - have any of you out there transferred/applied to a program in a different discipline after 1 semester of your PhD program? I'm starting to feel like I made the choice to enroll in a bio program because of my bio background, instead of pursuing my dream of becoming a writer and enrolling in a creative writing program. blink.gif I'm greatly confused and would love any advice you guys have to offer! Thanks.

P.S. I hope that life is going much better for the other first years out there!

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Okay, honest opinion?

I think it's your first semester in graduate school. The work is hard and the tasks you do in lab are the same three basic things over and over and most of the time they don't work out and your schedule is so packed you don't have time to be you. (My roommate is a first-year bio student. But if you substitute "Latin translation" for "lab," that's my life as well).

I'm guessing that a lot of it has to do with wanting time to be you b/c you mention applying to MFA programs. It sounds like you are looking for a "comfortable" place, still insulated from the Real World but with a much freer schedule than you have now. If you want to be a writer, write. Set yourself 30 minutes a day, or, heck, 15!--and make a vow that you *will* write for those 15 minutes every day. (Except maybe during finals, you have 15 minutes to spare. Promise.) Or you might consider setting yourself a word limit--"I will write 100 words every day." If you have the discipline to make yourself write even through a year of hellish lab work, you probably have the discipline to be a professional writer. ;) There is very little conflict between pursuing your dream as a writer, and having another job. Probably 90-99% of professional writers have a day job.

This is not to say that the MFA creative writing is worthless. Not at all! But it's also not magic, and it seems like you kind of want it to be.

I'm not a huge fan of this author, but you might want to check out The Freelancer's Survival Guide. I'm thinking especially of this, in light of your desire to pursue an MFA, in graduate school, instead of just dropping out to chase your dream:

The difference between most people and full-time freelancers boils down to one thing. The ability to take risks.

Full-time freelancers are risk-takers. Most people aren’t.

Most people value the safe, the secure, and the familiar.

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Hi Sparky -

I don't think it'll be magic - not in the least. I just think it would be a better fit. But, as you said, I am a first year and it is my first semester. My classes blow (mostly because grading is subjective and I can't give you the answer you want unless you actually tell me what it is), and lab, while stimulating, is always a lesson in what I don't know. Whenever I'm there I find myself thinking "I could be writing right now." However, it would be foolish to decide after 1/2 of a semester that this bio program isn't for me, especially when they've invested so much time and money in my future. I will take your advice and set aside time to write everyday. If I can stay up to read Jim Butcher all night, I can stay up to write. biggrin.gif

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Remember, the grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence. Always. Stick it out for the rest of the year. Also, remember you are NOT expected to know everything that's out there. Grad school is designed for people to ask questions about everything. Otherwise, what's the point?

I also have a friend doing PhD in biophysics. When she bragged about how there was a gym facility in her lab, I asked her, "Why? What's the deal?" She said, "Because sometimes my experiments take two or more hours to take place! And I need to kill time..." Bring your laptop or creative writing notebook with you and write while you're waiting for the results. 15-30 minutes taken care of.

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don't get an MFA.

how many of your favourite writers have MFAs? exactly.

whether you want to stay in your PhD program or not is another question, but if you want to be a creative writer, then just start writing stuff. read and write and send stuff to publishers.

i apologize if this offends any people currently pursuing an MFA. it's just my opinion, but they're not a necessary part of becoming a writer in the way a PhD is a necessary part of becoming a professor.

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Send stuff to publishers!? I'm working my way up to that. It's much easier to be entirely too scared to function and use that as an excuse to allow my writing folder to grow like a fungus and consume my hard drive. It is quite true that a lot of my favorite authors do not have MFA's. In fact, one of them (L.K. Hamilton) has an undergraduate degree in biology. *Sigh* I will do as you all bid. MFA = worse death than PhD. I will take the lesser of two evils, and just write my pain away. LOL laugh.gif

don't get an MFA.

how many of your favourite writers have MFAs? exactly.

whether you want to stay in your PhD program or not is another question, but if you want to be a creative writer, then just start writing stuff. read and write and send stuff to publishers.

i apologize if this offends any people currently pursuing an MFA. it's just my opinion, but they're not a necessary part of becoming a writer in the way a PhD is a necessary part of becoming a professor.

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Hi BionicKris,

I read this when you posted without looking at the poster and just now realized it's you! I think you should incorporate more stress-relieving activities...such as going out with friends, even if it's just to a coffee shop so they can study while you write. :)

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More coffee!? I think that is definitely the answer. Let me know when you go to Greyhouse/Starbucks next time. I might join you!

Hi BionicKris,

I read this when you posted without looking at the poster and just now realized it's you! I think you should incorporate more stress-relieving activities...such as going out with friends, even if it's just to a coffee shop so they can study while you write. :)

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