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Great distances, not travelled.

January 30, 2011

Things have been alternately hectic and deathly in recent weeks. Oh, the poetry world’s been busy, of course, what with the appointment of Liz Lochhead as Scotland’s second National Poet and Derek Walcott winning the T.S. Eliot Prize. I have been, at times, frantic over (now finished) dissertation and (unsuccessful) scholarship application, but lately I’ve descended into a fearful stupor. Do I apply for a masters I can’t afford? If so, where? If not, what the hell else will I do?

I’m not going to lie. I’ve been foolish. Investing too much hope in an unrealistic bid for an American exchange and writing a 10,000-word thesis in under a week is not smart behaviour. But now, with one semester left until The Future uppercuts me in the face, I’m getting scared. For the moment I’m going to surround myself with mountains of Elizabethan tragedy, crime fiction and radical feminist theory and hope it all goes away.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 30, 2011 4:27 pm

    My two cents: don’t apply for the Masters unless you’re very sure of a) What you’re going to do with your life, AND b) That you need to take the Masters *now* in order to do that thinbg with your life. If you don’t have funding for a Masters, then the debt you’ll need to go into to take it is crippling: it seriously limits what you’ll be able to do afterwards. Trust me, I’m living through it now. While I did need my Masters to do what I want to do, I think I would still have been better off working, gaining experience and saving *before* taking it. There is no harm whatsoever in waiting before applying for a Masters. You’re likely to benefit from non-academic experience. But if you’re fairly sure you want to do it and that it’s worth the debt, then go for it: I’m also an advocate of determinedly pursuing what you want to do and damn the cost.

    • January 30, 2011 7:24 pm

      Thanks, Harry. I think I will take a year out before applying, consider my options and hopefully make some money towards a masters. The only thing I need now is employment and a place to live.


      • February 1, 2011 11:52 am

        If you want to move to Edinburgh, I expect I could help you find a room in a flatshare. There’s usually one or two going around my friends — though you’d have to be able to live with varying degrees of hippy. Also, there’s always a spare room in my house for someone to stay for a week or two while they figure themselves out.

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