While I survived my first semester there were moments when I felt as if I wasn’t the brightest and the best. In fact, there were times last semester when I felt as if I was the least well read student in the program. It seemed as if everyone was talking about books by authors I had never heard of. Everyone was name dropping and I just remained quiet many times when books, authors and theorists were being discussed in the office. I have subscribed to the idea of being silent in order to mask ignorance. There is no point in proving to others you don’t know what you’re talking about. This tactic of being silent seemed to be working so far. I was never called out or anything like that.
Well today I started my first literature course at the graduate level. I was already nervous going in because the work load is quite intense, and I’ve heard from other students that my professor is tough. When my professor started class he asked us to introduce ourselves and talk about ourselves. Well he started asking us questions about our favorite authors and asked the MFA’s whose writing style we felt we imitated or wanted to imitate. These were valid questions I thought. The thing is as it came time for me to speak I started getting nervous. I didn’t know that many authors and didn’t want to just say something like Mary Shelley is favorite when she is and I wish I could write something as brilliant as Frankenstein. So instead of pretending to know anything I simply shrugged my shoulders saying something along the lines of, “oh gosh, there are too many to pick one.”
While the class progressed and my professor continued to lecture he would mention an author then ask us who had read this person and that person and it seemed as if I was the only person who hadn’t. I’m really starting to wonder if I’m grad school material. I mean, I’ve read some books, I love literature, and I really love writing but I feel like I’m the dumbest person in my program and I’m worried my silent act won’t last much longer.
I wonder if I’m the only person in my program, or any MFA program who feels this way? Are there any others like me who just don’t feel like there are with it? And those of you who are with it how did find the time to read all these books? I’m stressing out!