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lookatthedonutnotthehole

Thinking about quitting...

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Hi, I need some advice...and also I just want to complain some so thanks for listening.  I've finished 1 semester of leveling classes for my masters degree in communication design.  My portfolio "wasn't good enough" to get straight into the real masters coursework so I was required by my school to take a year of leveling classes.  The first semester was hell.  They are basically cramming a 4 year the undergrad design curriculum into 2 semesters.  Ontop of that, the program is designed to be a flexible distance learning program.  However, the leveling classes are not distance classes, and you are required to be there 2 days a week.  Anyways, I don't live anywhere close to the school and had to commute the whole time, which made things even harder.

 

Now that I look back at all of the work I created over the semester, I hate it.  I know we are there to learn, but I feel like I'm at the stage where I should be creating work I enjoy, not doing boring crappy freshman design assignments.  Not to toot my horn, but I'm a good artist and I feel so stifled doing this program.  I loved being an undergrad and was given so much creative freedom, treated with respect, and made a lot of awesome pieces of work.  I thought grad school would be the same or better, but so far its not.  The professors at this school are like design Nazi's and I feel like they are treating us like dumb undergrads.

 

The semester is over and I still need to turn in 1 paper, and now that I'm done with all of my work, I don't even want to finish the paper.  When I think about what I just went through, (endless commuting, working on stuff I hate, the pressure of the deadlines, sleepless nights, being 29 years old and treated like an undergrad), it makes me sick.

 

Ontop of that I have no funding and am just paying for this out of my pocket.  I wanted to get an MFA so I can teach college art...that was my dream, but now that I'm there, I hate it.  I know I can be negative and a pessimist at times, so maybe I'm just being a whiney baby, I don't know.  Maybe the commute is what killed me.  I don't want to quit but I don't know if this is worth all of the suffering. I feel like at my age I should be thriving and enjoying life, not barely surviving. It took me 6 years after my undergrad degree to finally decide to apply and get into grad school.  My teachers kept encouraging me to go and never gave up on me.  I'd feel like a jack-ass if I quit after 1 semester...but I hate it!!

 

 

 

 

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I was going to suggest toughing it out to get past these "leveling classes." You don't know what the actual MFA will be like yet, do you? It could afford you more freedom, treat you more maturely, etc. I would say most of those things you're upset about are transitory. 

 

That being said, when I got to your last paragraph I kind of winced. Paying for an MFA strikes me as a distinctly bad idea. I have no idea what the job market is like for college art teaching positions but I can't imagine it's any better than for Writing Instructors. Debt, while transitory as well, is a hell of a lot harder to deal with than condescending instructors.

 

I would do a lot more research about job prospects before you continue on this path. Good luck!

Edited by 1Q84

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That being said, when I got to your last paragraph I kind of winced. Paying for an MFA strikes me as a distinctly bad idea. I have no idea what the job market is like for college art teaching positions but I can't imagine it's any better than for Writing Instructors. Debt, while transitory as well, is a hell of a lot harder to deal with than condescending instructors.

 

 

Why do you assume that paying for education yourself = debt? 

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Why do you assume that paying for education yourself = debt? 

 

I think it's a pretty safe assumption, if this is taking place in America. Even if no debt occurs, paying for an MFA out of pocket is almost-always an unwise use of funds unless one has a concrete position lined up afterwards. Even then, it's probably not a good idea.

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I think it's a pretty safe assumption, if this is taking place in America. Even if no debt occurs, paying for an MFA out of pocket is almost-always an unwise use of funds unless one has a concrete position lined up afterwards. Even then, it's probably not a good idea.

 

MFA's average cost is like 30K. Which isn't that much money considering the OP has been out of school for 6 years.

 

Secondly, I find it kind of ironic that someone that is applying to Ph.D. programs in English Lit is being judgmental towards someone's choices considering that degree is probably one of the least convertible degrees you can do. 

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MFA's average cost is like 30K. Which isn't that much money considering the OP has been out of school for 6 years.

 

Secondly, I find it kind of ironic that someone that is applying to Ph.D. programs in English Lit is being judgmental towards someone's choices considering that degree is probably one of the least convertible degrees you can do. 

 

Ad hominem aside, it would be equally foolish for someone seeking a PhD in English (or anything) and for someone seeking an MFA to go into it without funding, or at least the possibility of being able to earn funding. 

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MFA's average cost is like 30K. Which isn't that much money considering the OP has been out of school for 6 years.

 

Secondly, I find it kind of ironic that someone that is applying to Ph.D. programs in English Lit is being judgmental towards someone's choices considering that degree is probably one of the least convertible degrees you can do. 

 

$30k is not much for a humanities degree? Jesus. What world are you living in?

 

And you actually have no idea what my plans are after my Ph.D. If I were planning to pursue an unfunded Ph.D. and then live off adjunct pay afterwards, then by all means, judge away. As of now, you're just making yourself look bad.  

 

Ad hominem aside, it would be equally foolish for someone seeking a PhD in English (or anything) and for someone seeking an MFA to go into it without funding, or at least the possibility of being able to earn funding. 

 

That's kind of my point. But I guess victorydance has a bone to pick. 

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I am looking bad?

 

I'm not the one talking down on someone for making certain choices in their lives when they are looking for support. The guy just wanted support and then you got some freaking English Lit people come in here and basically tell him he's an idiot for doing what he is doing. 

 

$30K really isn't that much money. If someone had been working for 6 years that would mean $5K a year one would need to save, that is peanuts. 

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I am looking bad?

 

I'm not the one talking down on someone for making certain choices in their lives when they are looking for support. The guy just wanted support and then you got some freaking English Lit people come in here and basically tell him he's an idiot for doing what he is doing. 

 

$30K really isn't that much money. If someone had been working for 6 years that would mean $5K a year one would need to save, that is peanuts. 

 

 

Listen, I don't know what kind of chip you have on your shoulder concerning unfunded humanities degrees but from what I can tell, it's a doozy. 

 

Nowhere did I call OP an idiot. Nowhere did a "talk down" to him or her. In my honest opinion, the best advice that folks can get in response to "should I quit?" threads is: think very carefully about your finances, especially if you're taking on an unfunded degree. I would give that advice to anyone--yes, gasp, even an English Lit student.

 

Before you get more huffy, please go back and read what I actually said instead of reading condescension into my advice. Thanks.

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"Even if no debt occurs, paying for an MFA out of pocket is almost-always an unwise use of funds unless one has a concrete position lined up afterwards. Even then, it's probably not a good idea."

 

Looks pretty obvious to me. 

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"Even if no debt occurs, paying for an MFA out of pocket is almost-always an unwise use of funds unless one has a concrete position lined up afterwards. Even then, it's probably not a good idea."

 

Looks pretty obvious to me. 

 

As I said, I would have offered the same statement for any unfunded humanities degree. You can feel free to keep harping on my supposed negativity if you like. Maybe that's helping you through the end of this semester? Whatever it is, good luck. 

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As I said, I would have offered the same statement for any unfunded humanities degree. You can feel free to keep harping on my supposed negativity if you like. Maybe that's helping you through the end of this semester? Whatever it is, good luck. 

 

But he didn't ask for that advice and that is exactly my point. 

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But he didn't ask for that advice and that is exactly my point. 

 

Ah okay. Sorry, I was unaware that I am required to only tell OP what he or she wanted to hear. 

The title reads, "Thinking about quitting..." and the post itself begins, "Hi, I need some advice...". Not sure how you'd interpret that but since you seem to be able to read OP's mind concerning whatever advice he or she is asking for, I'll leave it to you, bud.

 

OP, sorry to hijack your thread and sorry for the (apparently unsolicited) advice.

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Hi, I need some advice...and also I just want to complain some so thanks for listening.  I've finished 1 semester of leveling classes for my masters degree in communication design.  My portfolio "wasn't good enough" to get straight into the real masters coursework so I was required by my school to take a year of leveling classes.  The first semester was hell.  They are basically cramming a 4 year the undergrad design curriculum into 2 semesters.  Ontop of that, the program is designed to be a flexible distance learning program.  However, the leveling classes are not distance classes, and you are required to be there 2 days a week.  Anyways, I don't live anywhere close to the school and had to commute the whole time, which made things even harder.

 

Now that I look back at all of the work I created over the semester, I hate it.  I know we are there to learn, but I feel like I'm at the stage where I should be creating work I enjoy, not doing boring crappy freshman design assignments.  Not to toot my horn, but I'm a good artist and I feel so stifled doing this program.  I loved being an undergrad and was given so much creative freedom, treated with respect, and made a lot of awesome pieces of work.  I thought grad school would be the same or better, but so far its not.  The professors at this school are like design Nazi's and I feel like they are treating us like dumb undergrads.

 

The semester is over and I still need to turn in 1 paper, and now that I'm done with all of my work, I don't even want to finish the paper.  When I think about what I just went through, (endless commuting, working on stuff I hate, the pressure of the deadlines, sleepless nights, being 29 years old and treated like an undergrad), it makes me sick.

 

Ontop of that I have no funding and am just paying for this out of my pocket.  I wanted to get an MFA so I can teach college art...that was my dream, but now that I'm there, I hate it.  I know I can be negative and a pessimist at times, so maybe I'm just being a whiney baby, I don't know.  Maybe the commute is what killed me.  I don't want to quit but I don't know if this is worth all of the suffering. I feel like at my age I should be thriving and enjoying life, not barely surviving. It took me 6 years after my undergrad degree to finally decide to apply and get into grad school.  My teachers kept encouraging me to go and never gave up on me.  I'd feel like a jack-ass if I quit after 1 semester...but I hate it!!

When I transferred from community college into university, I had to take a freshman course to fulfill university requirements before moving on.  Then I transferred again and once again I was required to take lower division courses to fulfill university requirements.  As a senior I had to take a freshmen seminar course and a 200-level bio course before I could move on to 300-400 level bio courses even though I had more bio, and science, credits under my belt than was required.  So for the first year at this school I could not take any bio course above the 200-level.   But that was their rules so I had to play their game.  To add, there is also the possibility that I might have to take some leveling courses myself:  namely Chem I and Calc II--despite having taken chemistry and math courses through upper division.  It is not a good feeling.  

 

Honestly, once I got past those requirements from my second university I felt pretty good as I was then free to take the courses I needed/wanted.  I would imagine that now that you are done with the leveling courses the same will hold true for you, too.  One piece of advice is that since you have already paid for one year out-of-pocket it might make more sense to continue on with at least one more semester before you decide to quit or not. It seems kind of silly to quit now considering you have yet to actually participate in the program.  Give it a semester and see how it goes. 

Edited by Crucial BBQ

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I've never been to an MFA program, so I don't know how it differs.

 

But "the pressure of the deadlines, sleepless nights" is pretty much the definition of graduate school, at least for a while.  So if you're considering whether or not you should quit or press on, you should take that into account.

 

From here on out, how often will you have to commute down to the school?  If a lot of your unhappiness is from the commute and the requirement to take leveling classes, then now that those are over you might be much happier and able to forge forward.  Even if you hate most of the work you created this semester, you could chalk it up to the work you had to create for necessity and look forward to producing better work in your actual graduate courses.  I recently looked back on a paper I wrote in my first semester of graduate school, and I laughed at it because of the leaps and bounds my writing and thinking has taken in the last 6 years.

 

But if you think the program (including professors) are designed in a way that is incompatible with how you do your art, it may be worth it to cut your losses and attempt to move on to a program where you can produce art you feel proud of.

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I'm completely on your side. Also, I love your signature. Alea iacta est is exactly how I feel during the application season. ^_^

 

Hi OP, I'm very sorry to hear of your predicament. Grad school has that nasty tendency to fill people with doubt and frustration, myself included. I'm wondering what your intention is regarding schooling after you finish your year of leveling. You mention the school being far away but that it is designed to be like a flexible distance learning program. Are you able to complete the remainder of your schooling without the commute, or will there still be courses or work that needs to be completed on-site?

 

Along the same vein as what 1Q84 was saying, grad school in the humanities is hard to do without funding. Depending on how you're paying for your schooling (out of your salary, with student loans, etc), this can be very troublesome. It is often strongly encouraged to not pursue education in the humanities without funding; HOWEVER, each student has a different situation. Are there fellowships or grants available through the department? Ultimately, the worth of attending grad school out-of-pocket is contingent upon whether it's worth it to you and what you wish to accomplish. The job market post-graduation is tough for us cursed with a passion in the humanities, but it's not impossible.

 

What struck me quite a bit about your post is that you said it took you six years to decide to apply to grad school. I don't know you or your situation, so I can only say what I feel I would tell myself in a comparable situation: I feel that, IF you're willing to pay the cost of tuition and willing to make the commute for one more semester, you owe it to yourself and to your past six years to try it out.

 

Are there other students in the program with whom you could discuss your concerns? I'm not wholly familiar with the degree program, so somebody who has gone through the leveling program and/or who is completing the MFA might give you a better perspective on what you should do.

 

No matter what you decide, I wish you the best of luck and also the peace to be content with your decision!

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Hi OP,

 

Not sure if you're still following this thread, but could you audit an MFA class in the program? Maybe take a semester off the leveling classes to do it so you're not killing yourself? It sounds like the leveling classes are grueling and not creatively satisfying at all, but I wonder if the actual MFA program might be everything you'd hoped for. Finding out might help make this decision a little bit easier. FWIW, I'm sorry it's been such a rough road for you. 

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