Two years ago, I started my MFA program in Creative Writing at Stonecoast, University of Southern Maine. I entered the program with the goal of finishing my first novel. I remember feeling terrified that I was too old to be a student again. What if it was all recent undergrads? What if I was too late? My professional career was flourishing, while my creativity was languishing. But in my 30s, I made the active decision to return to education and art and curiosity and inspiration, investing endless hours and money in myself. It was a selfish endeavor, but it was a necessary one.

As of June 27, 2021, I can say that I’m an MFA graduate, a member of the Stonecoast Coven Class of 2021. I have a master’s degree. A master’s. In writing. So, I guess I can say *whispers* I’m a writer. No, let me shout it. *I’M A WRITER*. Not for having an MFA, but for writing. For sitting, and committing myself to the craft, and producing.

And yes, I finished my novel. I had some stuff published. I received recognition. I received many, many rejections. But mostly, I just wrote word after word after word. I can confidently say that choosing to do this MFA was the smartest move of my entire adult life, the most valuable endeavor, bar none. For my writing soul. For my soulmates. For my teachers, my mentors, my peers, my cohort, my lifelong friends. But really, for me. I wasn’t too old to return to school, or to start calling myself a writer. I was right on time.

I’ve had to make a couple of tricky decisions about the direction of my writing career (more soon), but as if to affirm me, the day after I graduated, I got longlisted for a writing prize, and the next day, I had another story accepted. OK, universe. Loud and clear.

So yes, I’m an MFA graduate. But primarily, above all else, I’m a writer.