I am very happy to report that my interview with the Director of the MLS program went well on Friday and I have officially been accepted into graduate school – WOOHOO!
I cannot believe how much has changed, grown, and evolved in my life in the past three years. I never believed I’d be going back to school, nonetheless starting a prodigious master’s program in Spring 2014.
In celebration of this accomplishment, I’ve decided to share a copy of the Advanced Achiever speech I gave at my BFA graduation on October 4th, 2013. It’s nothing pedantic or overly didactic – just me paying homage to those that advocated for me along the journey.
What is story? How are we inspired, transformed, and educated by story?
Thanks to my education at Full Sail, I now know story can adapt from a book, to a script, to a movie, maybe a television show, then a game, why not?
But where does this essential desire for story originate?
From the ancient Grecian Homer to the modern-day Rowling, it is evident to me now that our need for story is rooted deeply in our DNA.
My story, much like many of my classmates, is the story of finding my voice as a writer.
I had a great job, a fulfilling career. What did I need with additional education?
When I announced to my family that not only was I enrolling in a second Bachelors degree, but, oh by the way, it’s actually a creative writing degree and I’ll be in the very first class?
They were surprisingly supportive. My husband, my friends and family – everyone was on board. Their advocacy was more than I expected and I wouldn’t have made it to this stage without them.
When I started classes, I had no idea the education I would receive. I was aware of the courses, the scope and objectives of the program, but all of my research could not prepare me for the experiences I would have over the next two and a half years.
In my first class, Creative Skills Development with Mrs. Moore, I learned that the subjectivity of life is what makes it beautiful: there is no recipe to please the masses. In Visual Thinking and Writing with Mr. Ramsey, I learned that the translation of word into the visual mediums exponentially increases its weight. Dr. Caroti taught me to relish the fantastic, Mr. Hewitt to test my personal boundaries, Mrs. Guy to revisit the innocence of my childhood, and Mrs. Nowlin the value of word economy. Each teacher bore a lesson beyond his or her textbooks and, as a collective result, I developed and honed my voice as a writer.
Everyone on this stage started this program for a reason: some to set an example for their children, others to make a bold step toward a future career, while still others enrolled to prove they could do this purely for themselves. Regardless of their motivations, we all stand before you the protagonists of our own hero’s journey.
While not all of the lessons were easy to swallow, each of them has made us better for the experience. And, now, we are the first graduates of the Creative Writing for Entertainment BFA program. We are ready to tell the stories for a new generation.
What’s your story? If you don’t have the answer yet – find it.
I am grateful to the faculty of Full Sail University for helping me find mine. If it weren’t for their patient guidance and direction, I would have never found my voice, the direction of my journey.
I am humbled to be the Advanced Achiever of the first graduating class and I hope to one day share a place in the Hall of Fame with my talented classmates.
Let’s get out there and tell our stories.
You can also view a recording of the live speech by clicking here.
My speech is in Part One of the 10/4/2013 ceremony, approximately 25 minutes into the recording. If you have time, I strongly suggest listening to all of the speeches from that day – many were heartfelt, emotional, and almost cathartic in their sincerity.
And now… here I go into the next chapter of my life. Graduate school! Rollins College! I’m optimistic for an incredible 2014.
~ Victoria Elizabeth
- What I Wish I Knew Then: Creative Writing – From the Creative Writing MFA Faculty at Full Sail University (Sai’s College) (saimariejohnson.wordpress.com)