About being a creative writing prof:
(1) getting into graduate school right now is harder than ever because of the economy. Grad programs (particularly liberal arts and fine arts programs) are refusing more applicants because they simply can't fund them. Or pay them. Or anything.
addendum: never go to a grad school you have to pay for. Get a fellowship. Most universities provide this in the form of a teaching or research fellowship. MFA programs will generally ask you to teach a writing course.
(2) Teaching in college is, most definitely, babysitting. I've just decided today to have an in-class discussion with my students about where it is proper and improper to write their name on a piece of paper (when it takes more than two minutes for me to FIND the name on the paper, we have a problem, let alone if I can actually READ the name). Teaching a writing course is even worse, I can imagine (I currently teach science)--most students have absolutely no idea how to write and you have to read each paper thoroughly if you want to give sufficient criticism (I have done some of this and it is very time-consuming and mind-numbing). Most students will not care about how to write. Most students will not have proper grammar and most students will _fight_ you about this.
All that being said--law school's not that great an option, either. The market's flooded with lawyers and most recent graduates I know are having extreme difficulty with finding a job.
I am, of course, not trying to discourage you from teaching, or from pursuing what you really want; I'm just trying to make sure you're well-prepared and not misguided into thinking that college teaching is the solution to any of the problems you had mentioned previously. Teaching at the college level is something you must WANT to do, with a passion. And you must be willing to do it for a very low salary until you can obtain tenure (which usually involves having multiple publications under your belt and so many years of experience and participation on so many boards and committees--it's different everywhere you go, but it's a long process.)
I would suggest talking to a professor before jumping on the academia bandwagon.
I knew as soon as I posted that ask that I was going to get a message like this! I know, I sounded pretty uh… overly optimistic? And probably a little naive.
I’m in my early twenties, so big dreams about our futures is part of the game. But don’t worry, I am a realist. Between when I wrote the last post and saw this one, I’ve already sat down with my creative writing teacher to talk to him about what he did to get where he is. His advice? Don’t go to grad school, just get published.
Part of me feels like that’s easy for him to say, because he’s a genius, but then again I guess the end game is really to write.
I know that I’d have to read a lot of
shit less-than-publishable-quality writing as a professor, but I’m used to that, since in all of my workshop classes I’ve had to read all of my classmates’ pieces. And I mean, look at this blog.
I’ve been moving towards law school for a few years now, so I know all about what a not-great idea that is, too… but basically my generation lives in the age of “good luck at getting a job once you graduate, sweetheart!” so pretty much anything anyone’s looking at doing is going to be hard to do. If I’m gonna live a life of penny pinching, at least I want to be doing something that I love to do.