Thursday, December 23, 2010

Opportunity and Journey: the MATX

This past week, I submitted a substantial amount of materials to VCU for consideration into graduate school. Should I be accepted, the lovely, aging homes that house classrooms and offices on campus will become a familiar backdrop as I pursue a PhD in MATX (media, art, and text). This week, my children and I walked the campus, then gently tread the worn and creaking stairs of the graduate admissions building to drop off my transcripts. Under the bare trees outside the office, we paused to breathe the sharp scent of promise: a cold winter of waiting between hopefulness and an answer. I scanned the street for signs of welcome—anything that said this place was as much for me as it was for the young students that wandered in chattering pairs, their backpacks slung nonchalantly in place.

I thought of my mother and how she must have clasped the little hands of my sister and me when she herself first stepped onto a campus again. My mother had returned for her master’s, which she did complete after years of covering our dining room table with her books and papers. I told my daughter this.  She is still unsure of what my pursuit of a doctoral degree might mean, even though I promise a better future for all of us. Regardless of what letters behind my name might signify, my passage through this campus, even my effort to do so, will mark for her that she, too, has a future she can carve, one not necessarily pegged by gender role, family history, or outside expectation. Looking at VCU, even as the campus began to sleep with the approaching Christmas holiday, a tinge of excitement ran through us. The children and I, holding each other’s mittened hands against the chill, exchanged smiles.

Below is an image from my painting portfolio and an excerpt from my entrance essay. Wish me luck!

There are obvious reasons why an artist and writer like me would wish to return to school: the lure of a PhD with the potential of teaching at the university level; the connection with other artists, writers, and professionals who wish to share their interests; the desire for a saturated education in new computer and online media. The internal reasons, however, are the reasons I wander the path in the first place and they come with the very questions that the MATX may help me explore: As a mother still in child-rearing years and having lived in multiple states, I am lost in the woods. Where was I going before everyone else’s life took precedence? Can I break out of my gender role and become the explorer that will eventually guide other writers and artists to a plane of recognition, reason, and purpose?

Happy holidays, Readers.


  1. Nice blog! I like your writing way. I'm doing practice GRE here: . I hope it's useful for GRE test takers.

  2. Very nice blog and all the best on your journey. I too applied to matx and am waiting on an envelope to define my next path. Best wishes.


Be kind, be thoughtful. Words travel.

I approve comments and if I am busy, you might have to wait a day or two to see your ideas posted. So sorry for when that happens.