Assuming a successful thesis defense next week, I’ll graduate from my MFA program in May. Because of this, I’ve become oddly obsessed with reading and listening to commencement speeches. As if by absorbing enough of them, I will magically become equipped to deal with the frustrations, difficulties, and tedium of life outside the cocoon of my program. Programs like mine are not reflective of real life. They are artificial, beautiful places where people’s default is to care about writing. My program spoiled me, paying me to spend three years working on my writing. In May, I will leave that cocoon. I have a lot of anxiety about that – hence, the commencement speeches.

Here are some of my favorites:

Marianne Boruch at Purdue

Neil Gaiman at The University of the Arts

DFW at Kenyon College