Year Two is off to a hectic start! Over the summer I led a memoir workshop for the Inlandia Institute, which was very successful and there should be a part two on the horizon. My work with the Inlandia Institute led to an opportunity to lead a “Writer in Conversation” event with Laila Lalami (her novel, The Moor’s Account, is a Pulitzer finalist). I was very honored. Having had Laila for a few classes made for a very relaxed and entertaining conversation. Many thanks to Cati Porter, the director of the Inlandia Institute for this opportunity and the Culver Center for hosting to the event.
I am a peer mentor to three first-year MFA candidates through my school’s Graduate Student Mentor Program. I meet with them each week to check-in and give guidance. They are all so wonderful and my program is lucky to have recruited such kind, talented writers.
Year Two also means TAing. I’m a TA for a large Survey of Nonfiction course. I lead two discussion sections on Fridays. I’m enjoying breaking the genre down for undergrads and I have a lot of latitude to bring in outside resources such as podcasts and videos to help them grasp the concepts. I was really nervous about being a TA because I didn’t really have them as an undergrad, so I had no reference point, but things are going well and I feel like I’m connecting with the students.
I’ll also be playing editorial roles for Crate, UCR’s graduate literary magazine, and Reservoir Journal, founded by familiar face to MFA Years readers, Caitlin (BOTH OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS!!).
Year Two is the time that your thesis should begin to come together. I am still working on my thesis, but have also been thinking a lot about other topic and series of essays I would like to try to write and send out as submissions. I hope to submit and be published a lot more in the coming year.
As much as is going on in Year Two, I’ve still got a lot of questions and mystery around what my life will look like a year from now. I literally have no idea where I’ll be living or what I’ll be doing and it’s been quite sometime since I’ve been so completely in the dark about my own future! I’m trying to focus on be present in the present and not obsessing over the unknown.