in which an MFA begins


apologies for the lopsided-ness. This was taken right after running into a door, if that’s any excuse. See story below.

So today was….

Wait for it…


Wait for it…


Wait for it…

I can’t wait anymore!


And as far as first days go, it was pretty stellar. Stellar in the sweet-mother-of-Abraham-Lincoln-what-have-I-gotten-myself-into kind of way, but also a this-might-be-the-start-of-the-best-thing-that’s-ever-happened-to-me kind of way.

Even though class didn’t start until three, I got on the bus at eleven, because I wanted to get there with plenty of time to get oriented, get my student ID1, and then have a period of meditative, uninterrupted, not-in-Lexington thoughtfulness before class began. For the most part, that’s basically what happened. But, since this is me we’re talking about, there was also an extra dose of awkward thrown in.

The first thing I did at Simmons was run into a door. True story. And I ran into it hard. And loud. And everyone looked at me. A few people might have laughed. And it really hurt. In fact, my arm still hurts. Which should tell you just how hard I hit the door.

So after getting off on that stellar start, I went to the cafeteria to get me some lunch. At which point I discovered that Simmons only sells Pepsi products.

Which was terrible news.

But I am willing to put that aside.

So after drinking Pepsi and losing fights with doors, I proceeded to spend the next two hours sweating, worrying, and imaging a creative array of scenarios in which something terrible happened that ruined my MFA dreams or, worse, resulted in my total humiliation in front of everyone on the first day of class. You know, the sort of life-ruining first impression that results in a permanently tarnished reputation. If we were still in high school, it would probably also result in a horrific nickname. Time moved unbelievably slowly. I had hoped to get some work done on The Book2, but instead, I just ended up doing a lot of staring at a blank screen, simultaneously wishing it was three o’clock and wishing three o’clock would never come.

Two-thirty hit, and I decided to strike out for my classroom. Half an hour earlier than I needed to. Because that is how I roll. It took me approximately seventeen seconds to find the classroom. Meaning that I ended up sitting in uncomfortable silence with several of my new anxiety-ridden classmates for the next thirty minutes, all of us with spiral notebooks and critical texts poised and waiting in front of us.

Me, I was totally calm, as per ush. I just sat there and wrote in my journal.

The page of me being totally calm and not at all worried looked like this3:


Okay, so I might be lying about the calm part. I was totally freaking out.

And as you may have noticed from the bottom section of that page, the class was hard. Like, hard. The first day and it is already the hardest day I’ve ever spent in a classroom. But it was good. Good hard. When was the last time I had a class that was good hard? Usually for me, classes are either one or the other. But this was good hard. The blow your mind kind of hard.

And I am excited. I am excited to be reading four hundred plus pages of mind-bendingly difficult critical theories every week. I am excited to read two novels every five days. I am excited to turn in papers every Monday. But mostly, I’m excited to be challenged. I’m excited to get better.

My day ended with an extra dose of awesome, because I got to see Hilary Weisman Graham and Kristen-Paige Madonia, two really excellent authors whose debut novels were just released, speak in Harvard Square. And if that wasn’t awesome enough, I also ran into Gina Damico and Diana Ren, two more excellent debut authors, at the event. They all signed my books4. They all seemed excited that I was so excited to be meeting them. Or perhaps they were actually bewildered by my exuberance and they’re just really good at hiding it. But they were all lovely, and sweet about welcoming me into the young adult community when I told them that I was fresh off my first day in the MFA.

And if that wasn’t enough YA awesome for the day, I exchanged twitter messages with my writing crush and fellow Simmons kid, Karsten Knight.

So as far as first days go, this one gets a solid A. Things are looking up.

  1. In unrelated ID news, I just got a new driver’s license with a new photo, the first time since the original driver’s license I got when I turned sixteen. Because of some unfortunate timing, the picture was taken when I was in my recent weird half-pink half-blonde hair stage. I’m pretty sure my mother did this on purpose to try and teach me a lesson about dyeing my hair weird colors. But the message of this story is that every time I open my wallet, I throw up in my mouth at my picture with sherbet colored hair. And on top of that, my hair is poofing out weird. Really picture guy? You couldn’t have mentioned that?
  2. Still not going to talk about it. Don’t ask.
  3. Those of you who know me well know that me putting a page of my journal on the internet is, in the words of Joe Biden, a big effing deal. Savor it – this may be the only time you ever get to look into what was affectionately termed by a high school friend, my “life”.
  4. Which I purchased for myself as a birthday present.
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6 thoughts on “in which an MFA begins

  1. Hey! I follow you on Twitter (julieseifert) which is how I found your blog. I’m the girl writing the Swoodilypoopers/TFIOS thing. Anyway, great post! The MFA things sounds intense but exciting.

  2. Hooray for new beginnings! Good luck, girl! This is so exciting!!!

  3. 14 says:

    …you have a Twitter?

    • MackenziLee says:

      ….surprise! :) Yeah, I got one when I worked for Wait Wait since they were all on twitter a lot and pulled stories and quotes from there, so I figured I needed to keep up. Plus Jessi Klein suggested I get one to establish my online presence as a writer, and I never argue with Jessi Klein :)

  4. Billy says:

    I have new respect for Simmons College. Living in the shadow of Harvard, MIT and Boston University it dares to be different and sell Pepsi. Well done you, well done.

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