“Be prepared for a breakup about three weeks from now.” That was the relationship advice I got from a girl in her second year of my boyfriend’s graduate program, just before he started the first semester of his MFA in creative writing.
She had reason to be cynical: grad school means a convoluted class schedule, loads of coursework, very little money, and a whole new social circle of other grad students–and none of those things are awesome for an existing relationship. During her first semester, there had been a rash of breakups as everyone adjusted to the demands of the program.
But going for an MFA is about more than poverty and being swamped with work (although at their busiest times, grad students might not agree!). At its best, graduate school means having the support to delve into your passions—and when my boyfriend was able to delve into his academic passions, that brought a new sparkle to our relationship as well. Keep reading »