Lately, I’ve been joking around that my best friend is in Bali and my boyfriend’s on a sailboat in Sardinia—and here I am, stuck in school.
It wasn’t until the third or fourth time I said it that I realized how ridiculous I was being. I may not be gallivanting around Bali or the Mediterranean, but I am just as privileged as they are!
This week marks the beginning of the end—the first week of my last year in the MFA program. And it’s gotten me thinking about my dumb, beautiful luck at being “stuck” in school.
First of all, being a student, where our main purpose is to LEARN, is one of the most privileged existences available to a human. Thankfully, my mother has always made me understand the value of my education; she taught me to never take it for granted because I was one of the lucky girls on this planet who had access to something so precious. But after being in so many (great) schools all my life, I often forget my privilege, as we – the privileged – so often do.
So not only am I a STUDENT, which we’ve established is a position of great privilege, but I’m a GRADUATE STUDENT! This means I’m essentially being PAID to explore my own intellectual and creative curiosities! Unlike undergrad, which sometimes feels perfunctory because it has somehow become a prerequisite for life in America, graduate school is icing on the cake. We come here because we want to, not because we have to.
And to top it off, not only am I a GRADUATE STUDENT, but I’m an MFA STUDENT in CREATIVE WRITING. This means that I have the glorious luck of spending three unfettered years working on my own writing pursuits—and having awesome writers around who are paid to give a damn about it! (My professors.) Not to mention, I have the privilege of being surrounded by many inspiring and hard-working writers who create beautiful, artful, heart-opening stories.
So yes, woe is me, the poor MFA student…
Privilege is power, and as the saying goes, with power comes great responsibility. I am constantly asking myself - Am I’m doing enough? Could I be doing more? Could I use my time more wisely? How else could I get even more out of this experience?
It certainly wouldn’t hurt the world if we all started our day by acknowledging our privilege. Imagine all that we could accomplish if we moved forward with gratitude and appreciation for our place, our power, and our possibilities.