| Register  | FAQ  | Search | Login 
It is currently Thu Sep 18, 2014 6:44 pm

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 23 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: The Official "Should I go to graduate school?" thread-MFA
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 2:19 pm 
Offline
ol' garly cooch
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:41 pm
Posts: 2828
Location: Kashyyyk
Folks,

After a million times of chewing and digesting what I should be when I grow up, I've decided I'd like to stay at ye olde garden center and work on a portfolio because...

I want to go to graduate school and earn my MFA in painting. I had an awful undergrad experience which has me kind of jaded about the art world. Tell me MFA-ers: is it worth it? Do you do a lot of academic baton twirling that peas you off? Do your superiors ride your asparagus about landing "the right kind" of shows? Were you able to find gainful employment?

I wanna know it all. Discuss. Even if you don't have an MFA, I'd love to hear some jibba-jabba.

_________________
I'm not dead, just sick.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Official "Should I go to graduate school?" thread-MF
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 2:44 pm 
Offline
Has it on Blue Vinyl
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 6:31 pm
Posts: 2134
Location: 510
Unless you want to teach or have a wealthy benefactor, almost everyone I know with an MFA just feels saddled with a ridiculous amount of debt.

The successful, young, working artists that I know are the ones who have the discipline to continue working outside of school and who are ace at networking, making connections, and staying involved in (and building) the local art community (going to every opening, opening their own impromptu spaces in a hole in the wall, self-curating a group show with their buddies at another hole in the wall, starting drawing happy hours at hip bars, opening group studio spaces, etc.)

I've seen top SF galleries hand pick artists from MFA thesis shows; it does happen, but it is incredibly rare. A school would be a good resource for making connections, finding grant opportunities, and helping you not become isolated post-undergrad. But, there are not many lucrative opportunities on the other side, so it's a gamble.

ETA: By successful, I don't mean making a living off their art. They still have other jobs to pay the bills, but they have good shows and good press, which is about as much as you can hope for with the cost of California living.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Official "Should I go to graduate school?" thread-MF
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 3:20 pm 
Offline
Chard Martyr
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:49 pm
Posts: 9635
Location: SW Desert, USA
I love school. I'd stay in school for the rest of my life if I could. I went and got a M.A. I thought I'd be able to get a job because it has a pretty cool "specialization," there is a need for people in my field, etc.

However, the job market sucks. I have heaps of debt for the first time in my life. I'm stressed, panicking, and have had two interviews after probably 50 (?) applications. Nothing. Every morning there comes a dreadful time when I have to get on the computer and look for new postings for jobs to see if I fit the criteria for any of them.

But you only live once. Follow your dreams. If you're going to regret not getting your MFA in ten years, then go for it. I'm really proud that I got my degree, and hope things finally work out and I gain employment at some point. Good luck!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Official "Should I go to graduate school?" thread-MF
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 6:08 pm 
Offline
WRETCHED
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 6:54 pm
Posts: 8536
Location: Maryland/DC area
So I have no clue about MFA but why do you want to go back to school? Do you want a career change? Do you want to develop yourself personally while remaining in a soul sucking job?

If your reasons are for personal development only with no thoughts of job prospects, then I say do it. If you actually want a new career, then I think you need to go find out what you want to do, including people in that career, their qualifications and the general requirements.

_________________
You are all a disgrace to vegans. Go f*ck yourselves, especially linanil.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Official "Should I go to graduate school?" thread-MF
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 6:43 pm 
Offline
ol' garly cooch
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:41 pm
Posts: 2828
Location: Kashyyyk
linanil wrote:
So I have no clue about MFA but why do you want to go back to school? Do you want a career change? Do you want to develop yourself personally while remaining in a soul sucking job?

If your reasons are for personal development only with no thoughts of job prospects, then I say do it. If you actually want a new career, then I think you need to go find out what you want to do, including people in that career, their qualifications and the general requirements.


this is why i started this thread--to get some honest feedback so i could assess if i truly wanted to pursue getting a degree. i have a bfa in printmaking-(the sanskrit of graphic design) and i found the departmental politics to leave a bad taste in my mouth. otherwise, i love creating stuff. my most recent medium has been vegan cooking.

career wise, i'm a dynamo, i'd be awesome at just about anything. i'm just hitting a mid-life crisis of sorts-(my 20 year HS reunion is looming) and i feel like i'm not really living up to my potential. i want to be creative, work with people who want to work with me, and get paid for it. i have that at my current job, but the pay isn't that great and there isn't any opportunity for me to move up on the ladder. i'm just a cog at work. what i really want to do is move the art again. i used to really be involved, but quit.

_________________
I'm not dead, just sick.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Official "Should I go to graduate school?" thread-MF
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 6:47 pm 
Offline
Invented Vegan Meringue
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:18 pm
Posts: 3561
Location: It's hot. All the time.
Politics are terrible in academia regardless of where you are. It's actually worse at the graduate level because you are somehow closer to the garbage.

My suggestion would be to try to re-connect to the art world in your area and see what's there. I am skeptical that getting an MFA would help you land a job.

_________________
A whole lot of access and privilege goes into being sanctimonious pricks J-Dub
Dessert is currently a big bowl of sanctimonious, passive aggressive vegan enduced boak. Fezza
You people are way less funny than Pandacookie. Sucks to be you.-interrobang?!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Official "Should I go to graduate school?" thread-MF
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 7:27 pm 
Online
Cranky
User avatar

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:17 pm
Posts: 1642
Location: Indiana (again)
Given the number of MFAs hanging out in in your area, I can pretty much guarantee that the degree won't get you a job. In general, grad degrees in the humanities aren't that useful. You will often get a job in spite of a degree, not because of it.

_________________
No. No. fork life allatimes. - mumbles
That commercial didn't make me want to go out and buy Dove, but this thread did make me sniff my armpits. They smell like apricot. - designedtobekind


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Official "Should I go to graduate school?" thread-MF
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:10 pm 
Offline
protein lump
User avatar

Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2010 6:47 am
Posts: 2488
Location: providence via jersey
mel c wrote:
Unless you want to teach or have a wealthy benefactor, almost everyone I know with an MFA just feels saddled with a ridiculous amount of debt.

this. i don't necessarily regret going to grad school. i certainly learned a lot, but it didn't get me any closer to being what i want to be when i grow up. i'd probably be in the same spot with or without the MA.

_________________
I'm one of those vegans that cuts corners when it comes to things like breastfeeding and stabbing you in the face~Pranjal
That story would be adorable if it didn't end with herpes. ~Mo


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Official "Should I go to graduate school?" thread-MF
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:21 pm 
Offline
Has it on Blue Vinyl
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 6:31 pm
Posts: 2134
Location: 510
Vantine wrote:
My suggestion would be to try to re-connect to the art world in your area and see what's there. I am skeptical that getting an MFA would help you land a job.


This. Even for teaching positions, you'll be competing against artists with MFAs who have been practicing their art for years, and that's the experience that schools want; the letters are just a victim of bureaucratic garbage.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Official "Should I go to graduate school?" thread-MF
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 8:55 am 
Offline
ol' garly cooch
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:41 pm
Posts: 2828
Location: Kashyyyk
this is all very good sage advice. i shall develop my work and network like a whirling dervish of glitter. i suppose it will get easier to do this as the kids get older.

_________________
I'm not dead, just sick.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Official "Should I go to graduate school?" thread-MF
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 2:12 pm 
Offline
Saggy Butt
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:47 pm
Posts: 291
Location: Arkham, MA
I have no experience with an MFA, but since everyone seems to be indicating that it's kind of a moneysink, have you thought about just taking couple classes here and there? Either through continuing ed. or by auditing grad level courses?

Also, with regard to staying creative/producing, what about taking part in something like an Artist Trading Card swap, or the Sketchbook Project to get you going?

_________________
My Facebook | My (infrequently updated) Twitter


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Official "Should I go to graduate school?" thread-MF
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 4:39 pm 
Offline
Trapped On A Desert Island With A Cow
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 5:59 pm
Posts: 425
I don't know anything about MFA's but I was debating whether to get a Master's in public health (MPH). I think getting any type of Masters degree is going to be a similar story- I've heard a lot of people just aren't landing jobs right now, and I found a kick-ass job with only my Bachelors degree. I think I've come to a decision to wait a few years... I'm still taking the GRE which is good for 5 years, so hopefully in that time these things will happen: I saved enough money to go back to school, the economy gets better and starts actually hiring people with Masters degrees (in anything), OR I've gotten a career I really enjoy enough to decide that I wont bother going to grad school. Those are just my personal reasons with the limited knowledge and experiences I have talking with people in the same field as me.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Official "Should I go to graduate school?" thread-MF
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 12:54 pm 
Offline
Sick of Cupcakes
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:35 pm
Posts: 6692
Location: Norristown, PA
I don't know shiitake about advanced degrees since I don't have any kind of degree at all and don't particularly want one, but here is my question for you. Is there something you particularly want to LEARN from going back to school, or is your reason for going back about getting the degree? Or some other reason?

_________________
Man, fork the gender card, imma come at you with the whole damned gender deck. - Olives
Did you ever think that, like, YOU are a sexy costume FOR a diva cup? - solipsistnation
blog! FB!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Official "Should I go to graduate school?" thread-MF
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 1:02 pm 
Offline
ol' garly cooch
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:41 pm
Posts: 2828
Location: Kashyyyk
ah cq: how i love you so. you're always making me search inward. it's a great thing.

for me, i'm largely motivated by teaching others how to be creative, and to get paid well to do it. i've decided on not going back to school for the terminal degree because i have deduced that i do not want to do a bunch of academic baton twirling for snooty terds. if i want to teach, i can offer private lessons, or start my own damned art school. it's not going to happen for a while though because the children are a priority.

_________________
I'm not dead, just sick.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Official "Should I go to graduate school?" thread-MF
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:15 am 
Offline
Addicted to B12 Enemas
User avatar

Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2010 8:35 am
Posts: 232
Location: Philadelphia
I got my BFA in painting and printmaking, and also was left with a bit of a bad taste from that experience. I did consider doing an MFA, largely because of a "now what the hell am I going to do?!" feeling. I looked into a few programs but the idea of getting myself into that much debt was not appealing, especially since I knew I didn't want the MFA so I could teach at the college level or get into academia or whatever. And I have a very low tolerance for pretension and academic baton-twirling.

I have taken whole bunch of continuing education classes though- just random things I was interested in but also a certificate in graphic design which helped me get out of my boring publishing job and into a graphic design job which is a much better fit for me. And I've made a point of constantly working on my art and making it a priority in my life. I'm not like a big superstar famous artist or something, but I don't want that anyway. It's easy these days to find an artistic community without going to school, and you can skip all the BS politics! If you want to teach you can find plenty of opportunities for that that don't require a MFA. Good luck!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Official "Should I go to graduate school?" thread-MF
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 7:13 pm 
Offline
Mispronounces Daiya
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:14 pm
Posts: 1429
Location: The Latham Compound
My ex-bf has an MFA. He's a taxi driver. I don't think MFAs are generally required for driving taxis. I think if you have a career in mind that you need an MFA for, go for it. Or if it's for personal satisfaction, then sure. I don't know how much overall practicality they have, though.

_________________
http://megatarian.blogspot.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Official "Should I go to graduate school?" thread-MF
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 7:20 pm 
Offline
Vegan Since Before There Were Vegetables
User avatar

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2010 8:43 pm
Posts: 10667
Location: Astoria, NY by way of San Diego, CA
here's a good blog post on getting an MFA in writing, which might also apply here
http://www.maureenjohnsonbooks.com/2008 ... to-school/

_________________
I am not a troll. I am TELLING YOU THE ******GOD'S TRUTH****** AND YOU JUST DON'T WANT THE HEAR IT DO YOU?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Official "Should I go to graduate school?" thread-MF
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:58 pm 
Offline
Vegan Since Before There Were Vegetables
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:30 pm
Posts: 10296
Location: Wolfville, Nova Scotia
I <3 my MFA.

You know, it is what you make it. I think that there is no really helpful way to counsel a whole group of MFA-coveting people, especially if we are crossing disciplines.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Official "Should I go to graduate school?" thread-MF
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:15 pm 
Offline
Vegan Since Before There Were Vegetables
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:30 pm
Posts: 10296
Location: Wolfville, Nova Scotia
To clarify, I am not discounting the great opinions/advice/suggestions in this thread. I just think there are so many (crazy!) factors inspiring someone to be so crazy to pursue grad school in the arts, and sometimes, it makes (crazy!) sense. Or nonsense. Either way, I don't regret mine.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Official "Should I go to graduate school?" thread-MF
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:22 pm 
Online
Just Loathin' Around!
User avatar

Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2010 8:17 pm
Posts: 7213
Location: bindlestiff
Sisterz in ballz and MFAz

_________________
Ovoids=not vegan --invictus

Panda With Cookie


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Official "Should I go to graduate school?" thread-MF
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 9:24 am 
Offline
WELFARIST!
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:57 pm
Posts: 5120
ijustdiedinside wrote:
here's a good blog post on getting an MFA in writing, which might also apply here
http://www.maureenjohnsonbooks.com/2008 ... to-school/

". . . that there’s this idea that (creative) writing is all about traipsing around and being weird and “inspired” all the time, and that somehow the best training involves making word clouds and collages and listing fifty adjectives that describe the inner you."

I agree with much of what she says, but I've taken undergrad and writer-in-residence type creative writing workshops and courses (no MFA) and making word clouds and collages and adjectives listing was never a part of it. And yes, that would be a waste of time.

I got lots of practical advice and useful insight into writing though. To this day, when I'm sitting down to edit, three years away from my last writing workshop now, I still ask myself if I'm slipping into writing habits certain writing professors of yore pointed out as being detrimental or that I should watch, or that they felt (and I've come to agree) were bad or lazy writing habits and tendencies of mine bringing me down... If I were in different circumstances, I kind of think it would be an amazing opportunity to get my MFA in creative writing.

Also, I know some MFA students I workshopped with from UofT being published quite regularly and even winning some (Cdn) writing prizes lately so they're getting something from it.

_________________
"I'm sorry! I'm Canadian!"


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Official "Should I go to graduate school?" thread-MF
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:48 am 
Offline
Vegan Since Before There Were Vegetables
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:30 pm
Posts: 10296
Location: Wolfville, Nova Scotia
seitanicverses wrote:
ijustdiedinside wrote:
here's a good blog post on getting an MFA in writing, which might also apply here
http://www.maureenjohnsonbooks.com/2008 ... to-school/

". . . that there’s this idea that (creative) writing is all about traipsing around and being weird and “inspired” all the time, and that somehow the best training involves making word clouds and collages and listing fifty adjectives that describe the inner you."

I agree with much of what she says, but I've taken undergrad and writer-in-residence type creative writing workshops and courses (no MFA) and making word clouds and collages and adjectives listing was never a part of it. And yes, that would be a waste of time.

I got lots of practical advice and useful insight into writing though. To this day, when I'm sitting down to edit, three years away from my last writing workshop now, I still ask myself if I'm slipping into writing habits certain writing professors of yore pointed out as being detrimental or that I should watch, or that they felt (and I've come to agree) were bad or lazy writing habits and tendencies of mine bringing me down... If I were in different circumstances, I kind of think it would be an amazing opportunity to get my MFA in creative writing.

Also, I know some MFA students I workshopped with from UofT being published quite regularly and even winning some (Cdn) writing prizes lately so they're getting something from it.

Yes, this was almost exactly my experience as well! (I believe we've chatted a little about this) :)

My writing MFA was strictly workshop based, with a final thesis. So we just wrote and wrote and wrote, and received feedback from fellow students and professors, who were all successful/publishing authors. There were a couple of lecture courses about the publishing industry and building a career as a creative writing. It was exactly the program I needed to actually pursue my writing professionally and it has helped me a great deal so far. Many of my classmates have or are in the process of publishing their thesis. When I finally get mine to a point of completion I'm happy with, I hope to do the same!

I have friends who have done visual art MFAs, theatre MFAs, music MFAs, new media MFAs. The visual art person teaches at a college, the theatre one is a dramaturge for a successful theatre company, and the music person is working on a PhD. My sister has the new media MFA and she works at McGill University, in her field. Pursuing the arts in academics isn't going to win you any sort of easy dream job--but it's not a death sentence--and if you know why it is important for you to be pursuing your passion at the post-grad level, you can really make it work for your career. As with anything, you'll experience varying levels of success, largely depending on what you put into it!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Official "Should I go to graduate school?" thread-MF
PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:02 pm 
Offline
Writes Vegan Haiku
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 9:23 pm
Posts: 27
Location: Loss Angeles
I know this thread is a little old, but I thought I'd add in my .02 because it's a subject that interests me. I have an MA in educational counseling and work as a school counselor, which was the point of my masters. I share this for two reasons: one, because I went back to school in my mid-30s to get my MA after professing loudly and proudly to everyone back in my 20s, after I got my BA, that I had no intention of ever returning to school again, that I preferred to learn from "the school of life," and spending money on an advanced degree was absolutely ridiculous when I was making just as much money, more in some cases, as a legal secretary (which is what I did for a few years after getting my BA) than the people I knew with advanced degrees. And two, because one of my interests as an educational counselor is helping people figure out their career paths and the best way to get there.

Since you seem to have gotten some pretty good advice and prompts for reflective thinking from people in this thread already, I'll just share a little of my own process of how and why I decided to go back to school, and maybe it will help in your decision-making process in some unknown way. ...So, after a few years of working as a legal secretary after college and making pretty decent money, I eventually realized that I was unhappy with my career. I think I remember saying to someone at the time that, "it's a soul-sucking career and I want to do something with my life that actually has meaning for me." Yeah. So, after doing a lot of reflecting on what I wanted for myself and what I wanted in a job, I decided to get into education, and school counseling seemed to be the best fit for me. If I could have become a school counselor without the MA, I'd definitely have gone for it. I now owe a ridiculous amount of money in student loans. But I'm happy with my job, and it gives me what I need (for the most part). Going back to school and getting an advanced degree was a necessary hoop for me to jump through to get to that point, and I'm glad I did it.

An MFA, though, is a little different than my degree, which is specifically designed for a career in educational counseling. An MFA offers a lot more choices of things you can do when you finish your degree, and is not specifically geared towards one particular career. A friend of mine got her MFA in creative writing several years ago, with the intention of working for a publishing house. After finishing her degree, she wasn't able to find work at a publishing house, although she looked for several months. She had to return to her home town because she was running out of money, and I think the frustration and anger that things weren't working out the way she wanted after completing her degree lead her to act out with some of her friends, and we eventually stopped talking. I don't know if she was able to find anything where she could put her degree to work because we stopped talking while she was still in the job search process. I hope she was able to find something. I could see that her struggle was more difficult than mine, since I knew what I'd be doing when I finished grad school, and her choices were much more open ended.

...Point being (yes, there's actually a point to all this blather): if grad school's what you want, go for it. It's definitely worth it. As you're already aware, an MFA has its difficulties, so maybe a degree that's tailored to a more specific career might not be a bad idea. But if an MFA is what you really want, you should do it. Education is always the best investment you can make in yourself. It can pay itself off in so many ways.

_________________
The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue. — Dorothy Parker


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 23 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group
Template made by DEVPPL/ThatBigForum and fancied up by What Cheer