When I first decided to finish my undergrad schooling at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), I was under the impression that I would just finish that schooling, then write my books. I was wrong. Once I received my Bachelor of Arts with a focus in Creative nonfiction writing, I wanted more. I really felt I needed more schooling before finishing my first full-length work, so I began my quest to find a grad-school program that would fit me.
Having loved the program at SNHU, I didn't want to leave. The university offered a Master of Arts in English Creative Writing – Nonfiction, and I applied. I was easily granted entry and anxiously awaited my first day.
That first day and every day thereafter were filled with wonder and learning and the one thing I love more than anything else: Challenge. I was actually learning!
I don't know about you, but my brain starts to feel like flubber when it isn't actively learning. When I am learning about something that I enjoy and actively do, it feels vibrant and alive. I prefer an alive brain.
This feeling of active learning remained in my brain through grad studies in English focusing on nonfiction writing, linguistics, and poetry. Then I hit my first "literature" class as required in the program: Literature Theory.
The feeling of active learning was replaced by physical pain in my eyes. The sheer amount of reading every week was affecting my vision and the ongoing disabilities that require me to have audio input, as well as visual, were not able to be met. I struggled.
I called my advisors, both academic and disability. They tried their best. I emailed my professor, another 'Margaret,' she scoured the internet with me attempting to find audio versions for hundreds of pages of essays every week. We were all unsuccessful. Episodes of tunnel vision and blindness continued. And then it snowed.
This wasn't a regular dusting of February snow, no, this was termed by meteorologists all over the country as a 'Snowpocalypse.' My lights went out, and the snow piled up. Then the caregivers that allow me to be a functioning human were unable to get to my home. There was no way I could work on Lit Theory. It wasn't physically possible.
I had been excited about my final project in the Literature Theory class. The author, my professor and I were all named Margaret, but my enthusiasm wasn't able to push me past the physical pain. I wrote my advisor, withdrawing from the program.
I searched for a nonfiction MFA program. I became excited about one at Bay Path University and applied. For the first time in my life I received a rejection from a college I applied to. I was at a loss.
I went back to SNHU and reapplied for their communications Master of Arts program and got in. But something was missing. All of the energy that I had put into the application for Bay Path's Master of Fine Arts and the idea of having a bit of "hand-holding" while finishing my first book was still in my brain. I really wanted to finish my book.
So, I hit my knees and prayed. I asked my Heavenly Father what I should do. The answer came in a still, small voice that I could feel. I needed to write my book of testimony, and He would help me find a Master of Fine Arts program to support that effort.
God's answer in mind, I continued my search for an MFA program. It was like I had never searched before! Immediately, the Creative Writing MFA program at National University popped up as a result of my search. I read their pages stating they were a veteran-founded university with the first-ever online MFA program in creative writing! This was just what I was looking for!
I was nervous, but I applied. It took fewer days than I expected, and I received an email stating I was accepted. Not only was I accepted into the program, but they would also allow me to transfer three of the classes I had taken at SNHU! All of my hard work was not going to be wasted! I was overjoyed.
Now, I am wrapping up my first and only term at SNHU as a communications grad major and anxiously awaiting the opportunity to get deep into the writing of my first book, "The Car That Ran on Prayers." Look for it in 2021.
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