Author: Shakarean Hutchinson

On the Other Side of the Money Issue

Image: Images Money We talk a lot about the money factor of the MFA—the type of funding schools offer, if one is able to truly live off that amount of funding, etc.—but I wanted to speak to what may be the opposite side of that. What happens when you get that money when you’re not used to it?

On Reflection

Image: Moyan Brenn  I’m not much for doing reflections. There’s something about looking back into my past that I don’t like. I imagine much of it has to do with the fact that for many years I was stuck in the same place, around the same people, not moving on, not growing, not changing. No one likes to be reminded that they’re stuck in quicksand while trying to figure out how to remove their feet from the quicksand they’re currently sinking in. 

I Like My Classes. So Why Am I So Bad In Them?

Image: Chris Two months here in Ithaca and I’m learning a few things about myself. One, I relied way too much on working air conditioning and heat. Two, it is entirely possible to get around without a car, although not all that enjoyable. Three, I’m just really bad in an academic environment.

Shakarean Hutchinson Introduction (Cornell University ’18)

Image: Robert Thompson It’s a weird thing, leaving the only place you have known for the first time. I was never one of those kids that moved around, not state to state or city to city or even from one house to another. My family made its home in South Carolina (many many generations before I ever came to be) and despite a few excursions out of the state I always came back-to the South, to Charleston, to home. I chronicled my application process here on the MFA Years some months before so there is no reason for another rundown, but part of my happiness in being accepted into multiple programs was that they were far away and I knew I would be getting out. There was now a justifiable reason for me needing to leave the state outside of the “want to” that was my reason before. And in the months leading up to moving to Ithaca, NY, I had been excited. I was moving across country and getting a chance to learn at …

No Writing, All Questions

Image: Matt Roberts I haven’t written anything in a month. There hasn’t been a story or a poem, an outline or sketch, hell, I haven’t even written down any ideas on scrap pieces of paper. I’ve started and stopped this multiple times this past month trying to figure out what I’d like my last post to be about. I think you can tell from the writing it is not the best. I’ve got nothing. I imagine part of it is needing a break after finishing my last semester in college and then spending a week and a half dealing with graduation and all its many activities. Most people I know shut their brains off for a little after the end of a semester. But a month feels too long, like I’m getting complacent with my writing when, three months before entering an MFA program, I should be doing the exact opposite. This time of not writing has allowed me to think. In the midst of trying to find housing and a clinic near me who …

The After: Decisions, Decisions

Image: Thomas Hawk I got my first acceptance the second week of February while heading to my second class of the day. I spent the 75 minutes in my class reading that acceptance letter over and over and trying to keep a smile off my face as the class went over Faulkner. I was on cloud nine the entire day, right through the end of my last class that got out at 7 PM when usually I’m exhausted by then. It was after that class I got my second acceptance letter and I know I looked foolish as I sat on the bus heading home humming a song blasting through my earbuds. I read the first acceptance letter and then the second acceptance letter, then the first, then the second, back and forth during the 30 minute ride. I know people were side eyeing me. I caught a few doing it. But I had gotten into two MFA programs in one day. I was going to celebrate, even if it was just humming loudly on the …

Don’t Speak

Image credit: Miki Yoshihito I don’t talk. At least not in class. I am the person in the back corner of the classroom diligently taking notes who always knows what’s going on but doesn’t say a word. And I’m more than comfortable in that role. I like that role, especially since coming back to school. From that first day about two years ago on I got it in my head that I was behind the rest of my classmates somehow in education and ability. Listening to the discussions around me was my way of catching up to them. Plus, I’ve always been a better writer than speaker. I knew I could show my knowledge through the papers and essays assigned. I was more than fine trading in class participation grade for not embarrassing myself in front of everyone. Back in January, before the start of my final semester of undergrad, I made it a goal of mine to speak more, to participate more, to not just be the girl in the back of the room …

Shakarean Hutchinson Introduction (Applicant ’16)

Image: Andrew Taylor I finished my first application today (December 8th) with the mailing of my writing sample. I expected to feel something when the USPS worker took the envelope from me—happiness, relief, nervousness. Instead I felt what can only be described as meh. A 5 on a scale of 10. Baked but lightly salted crackers. Water. And not the icy cold water you drink after being out in the hot sun for hours on end either. Just plain, room temperature, straight from the tap water. *** I didn’t know anything about MFA programs until about three years ago while reading the bio of a random writer who had a short story published in an online journal I enjoyed. And even after doing a casual Google search on MFA programs I didn’t give it all that much thought. My future plans included getting an advanced degree in…something (hadn’t decided at the time), become a professor, and spend the rest of my life teaching and paying off student loans. And should I write a story or …