M.A. student Rachel Lauve on studying Creative Writing

Rachel Lauve is a new graduate student working toward an M.A. in creative writing from Ball State University. She earned an undergraduate degree in English Education from Ball State in May 2017

1) What degree are you pursuing (i.e., PhD in Literature, MA in creative writing, etc.)? What is it about this degree/program that interested you?

I’m currently pursuing my MA in creative writing. This particular program interested me because I felt like my time in Ball State’s creative writing department had only just begun in my undergrad, and I wanted to keep studying with this particular faculty; additionally, the fact that this program doesn’t require a genre concentration was appealing, as when I was applying, I was still figuring out which genre I really preferred. There’s always something to be learned from other genres that can be applied to your primary genre, too (e.g., I’m already itching to apply what I’ve learned about meter in poetry to my creative nonfiction essays).

2) Where did you attend undergrad? What did you study?

I attended Ball State for my undergrad, studying English Education – meaning I went through student teaching and everything only to end up as a student again rather than running my own classroom – with a minor in creative writing.

3) What made you decide to attend graduate school? What do you hope to do after you graduate from our program?

My decision to attend grad school came with the realization that I didn’t want to teach on the secondary level; I was in love with the creative writing classes that I took for my minor, more so than some of the education courses I was enrolled in (although I’ll always care deeply about education). A friend of mine recommended I talk to Dr. Molly Ferguson about whether or not grad school might be right for me, as she had, and after this meeting, grad school felt like the only possible next step for me. After I graduate from Ball State (again), I hope to work in literary publishing (the ideal would be Graywolf Press) for some time before applying to MFA programs for creative nonfiction.

4) What classes are you taking this semester? What are you most excited about studying?

This semester, I’m taking Reading and Writing Across the Genres with Dr. Katy Didden, a poetry workshop with Professor Mark Neely, and a teaching practicum in higher education with Dr. Jennifer Grouling-Snider. While these are all great and wonderful classes, my poetry workshop excites me most; I didn’t have the chance to take a poetry class during my undergrad, but I started attending Reacting Out Loud events last year and started dabbling in poetry on my own, so I’ve loved the opportunity to study poetry in a classroom environment.

5) Do you have any advice for undergraduate students who might be considering graduate school? Are there things you wish you’d known before you graduated and/or when you were applying to schools?

My main piece of advice for undergraduate students who might want to go to grad school is that their undergraduate study doesn’t have to match up perfectly with what they want to study in grad school.

In the days leading up to the start of this semester, I felt like a fraud; was I going to survive this MA program with only a creative writing minor under my belt? While I may have agonized with imposter syndrome because of this particular fact, my degree in English education has served me well in my graduate assistantship, and I know this degree will provide me a unique perspective in other classes, too.

Before graduating/when I was applying, I wish I’d had more affirmation that it was okay to not know exactly what I wanted to do. I’d been in a degree that was very career-focused, so that feeling of not-knowing, of only having an inkling of what my life would be like after grad school, was a bit terrifying, but I know now that it’s normal, even if it didn’t feel like it.


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