So I applied for a Creative Writing MA next year. There’s not much choice in Ireland, there’s one in University College Dublin (UCD), Trinity College Dublin (TCD) or Queen’s university Belfast (QUB). Some people argue that there’s one in National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) but that’s really a masters in Writing; it has modules in journalism, biography, travel writing and other horrible practical stuff like that. I applied for the first year and intended to do an M.Litt in my alma mater if all else failed (no way on earth do I want to enter the real world yet)
So the applications process gradually leeches away the will to live. I applied for all of them in the midst of my regular essays, reading list and dissertation. some such as ucd required application essays, Belfast wanted obscure enough information (Why does it matter what hospital I was born in?) and just when I thought I was finished with trinity I got an email listing no less than 10 items I had to send to them immediately. Though the PAC is supposed to streamline this somewhat it fails misereably as most colleges still use their own system and all the acceptances come out at different dates, so you could pay a deposit in one college only to find out a month later that you’ve gotten a better offer elsewhere (and don’t get me started on the utter nightmare of getting Professors, who are lovely but really have their heads so far up in the clouds of their own research that they can’t function in a normal everyday level, to write a reference).
So I fought my way through all this and sat waiting (I had no idea when any of the acceptances were coming out) gradually convincing myself that I wouldn’t get in anywhere so that I wouldn’t be too disappointed if that were the case.
But I needn’t have worried, over the course of a month I got offered a place in all of them, I even got a scholarship oin Belfast. So now with a hat-trick (a situation I never expected to find myself in) I had to actually pick one.
I never really wanted to go to UCD. I know Flann O’ Brien did his masters there but in Folklore not English whereas Trinity and Belfast have Oscar Wilde and Seamus Heaney. I’ve heard to many bad reports about UCD, from strained resources, to poor course content to a lack of interaction with students. The list goes on and I know a handful of people who dropped out for these very reasons. ALso it just looks horrible, like a airport that’s halfway through being blown up. Too much concrete and buidling everywhere. One of the best things about Maynooth was the gardens, the grass, all the trees etc. It really helps with writing. So UCD was out. (It had only really been a back-up anyway)
Belfast sounds awesome, really really awesome. But a lecturer of mine made the really good point that all of it’s writers in residence are poets and I really want to specialise in prose and novels. Also there’s the hastle of moving so far away from family and friends and all the writers resources that are in Dublin. Also (as my mother put it) the danger of being a Catholic/having a Southern registered car around Belfast at the minute. to be honest I don’t think the last one is really an issue but Parents worry. So there’s nothing too wrong with Belfast and I would have been happy with it but…
Trinity is in the city center + Terry pratchett is an adjunct Professor (He gave the current class several workshops) + there are a lot of Irish literature modules on the course making it much easier to get a PhD out of it + I can move in with my boyfriend, removing all the anxiety I’ve had from living with crazies in student accomodation + writing being an industry that is partially based on ‘who you know’ and Trinity still having the prestige (though I’m not really sure if it’s deserved) means I can build up contacts and if I go to UK publishers with anything in the future they’ll be pretty impressed by the letters TCD on my CV = Trinity for the win!
I already have several friends standing by to slap me if I go rogue (Trinners for winners loike y’know) so I reckon I’m in for a pretty interesting year, YAY!