My first year of graduate classes at the University of Baltimore is coming to an end. This semester, I’ve been taking a class called Experimental Forms, in which we read experimental works of fiction and write experimentally, based on these readings. I’ve also been taking a workshop in screenwriting as well as my second graduate-level workshop in fiction (I’d only taken a single undergrad workshop before I came here, to a grad program). Last semester, I took my first graduate fiction workshop and a class called Creativity: Ways of Seeing. All of these, except Screenwriting, are required for my degree. Screenwriting is just an elective—it’s the icing on the cake, considering that I want to write movies and/or for television.

Since late last week, I’ve managed to write three short stories and a reader’s response essay, but I still feel a little overwhelmed by what I have left. In retrospect, it was not a good idea to take three grad-level writing classes in one semester. Anyway, by next Monday at midnight, I have to have my screenplay and treatment finished/revised and turned in. Monday is also the due date for my final experimental piece, but that is one of the short stories that I’ve written in the last few days; I just need to edit, and it will be good to go. Furthermore, my professor said we don’t have to turn it in on Monday, since we won’t be meeting for class; that means I’ll turn it in on Wednesday, which is when the rest of my final projects are due (for Fiction). For that class, I have to put together a portfolio of everything I’ve written this semester, including any revisions, and then I have to write a reader’s response to a short story from our class’s anthology. I’ve already done that, but I’ll still need to find time to edit before next Wednesday. It’s based on Jhumpa Lahiri’s incredibly touching “When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine.”

For now, I’m mostly/only worried about my screenplay. It’s not done, for one thing, but I also don’t feel it is up to par on a line level. So I have to finish the storyline and do at least one revised draft of the entire thing, if I can manage that.


It’s the End of the Semester, But What Other Struggles Are on the Horizon?

I can’t wait for this semester to be over. But then, that breaks open a whole new problem: I need a job so I can afford to stay in Baltimore. I will almost have enough to cover my fixed expenses for two months—almost. But I wouldn’t be able to spend any more money than that, and that’s just not going to work. So I need to make up for those extra expenses, and then pay all my expenses for August. It’s not a ton of money, in the grand scheme of things, but for a poor graduate student in Baltimore, it’s still a lot.

I just hope there are jobs to be had. In the meantime, I’m seriously considering ChaCha, but I don’t think that will really help that much, and even then, it will only help at all if I can pass all the required tests and get “hired.” I can’t believe I’m actually considering this, but I may end up having to go to the nearest Burger King or something. Since I worked for Burger King for 4 years, under both terrible and amazing management, you should consider that a sign of desperation.

It wouldn’t be so bad. Would it? If I’m making money, who cares what kind of crappy job it is?

Which reminds me, I need to find out if taking a graduate assistantship would affect my loan eligibility in any way because there’s a chance I could end up with a (bad but still paying) assistantship next year.

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