“7 Self-Care Tips as You Await Responses to MFA Applications,” by Mark Berg

Jun 9th, 2021 | By | Category: Nonfiction, Prose

You created more charts and graphs than you care to admit. You ordered books from professors in all the programs and practically read them standing beside the mailbox. You realized application fees quickly add up and required you to cease “treating yo’ self” for a long while. Now all that’s left is time. The long winter of refresh buttons, GradCafe, and aspirational weeping can be difficult, but here are some self-care tips and reminders to help you not just make it through but flourish:

1. Turn any casual, workaday conversations with your spouse or significant other into opportunities of speculation over what getting into a program, your dream program that is on the other side of the country, would mean for your relationship and how you’d split up the coffee mugs.

2. Search every professor’s name on twitter, but don’t use your stanning/thirst-trap account. Create a professional, writerly account and do not use it to follow sex workers or communist hot-girl twitter.

3. Always remember, before you can move on to reject others, you must first learn to reject yourself.

4. Drink alcohol. It’s important to keep things in moderation, except if you’re applying during a pandemic. There is literally nothing else to do. Just remember, once the night terrors kick in, it’s time to take a step back and drink a V8 sans vodka (or gin).

5. Always remember, do not look to others for rejection before first rejecting yourself.

6. Write! You’re a writer! That’s what you do! Even if you don’t get in, you will always be a writer. If you can’t summon the will to write, that’s okay too. It’s perfectly fine to take that job at your uncle’s warehouse. Your life is merely research for your writing. It. Literally. Doesn’t. Count.

7. Lastly, always remember, your rejections were within you the entire time.


Mark Berg lives and writes in Chicago. He teaches high school English and humanities on the south side.


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