Sunday, September 13, 2015

Letting the Atlantic do the talking for me

Getting an M.F.A. is a terrible financial decision for almost everyone. (I'd say that so is getting almost any advanced degree in the humanities, but let's start with the M.F.A.)

Article from Atlantic from last year that makes this argument

Article from Village Voice cited in above article, in which the M.F.A. is compared to a Ponzi scheme

Ultimately, young writers with stars in their eyes will probably say that it is worth all the money to become a better writer. You can't put a price on art, you Philistine.

I'll address that idea more fully in a later post, maybe in the final one I'm going to do in a few weeks. My short response is that I don't think anything happens in an M.F.A. program you couldn't replicate for yourself in a much more focused, individualized manner for far, far less money. And money should matter to you if you want to be a writer, unless you come from money or have married well. You're probably not going to make a ton of it. If you throw a lot of debt on top of that, it's going to be something that will cause you stress for a long, long time to come. In other words, it will be something that will sap the energy you might otherwise have put into writing.

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