Friday, July 10, 2009

Vermont College of Fine Arts - Students Arriving!

The beautiful Winooski River which runs through Montpelier....

I spent most of today at the all-day faculty meeting - seven hours (!) of discussion about not only procedures and policies (which any institution has to handle) but also about plans for the future, which are so exciting for us! This is where the thrill of our new independence as a college of fine arts - unique in this country - really comes into play. The vision people have - and I mean everyone connected with VCFA - of our role as a national center of the arts is just so invigorating. Sorry - I don't mean to get too corny - I just am impressed by this faculty and how, after a day-long long meeting, we come out even more energetic than when we went in about what this place can mean to our students.

Our alumni graduate assistants are all here now and busy (very) getting material ready. It's quite a talented bunch: Cheryl Coupe, Katie Mather, Nancy Flood, Debbie Gonzales, Sharry Wright, Stephanie Greene and Ann Jacobus. They work their tails off during the residency and make all the difference in the world in how smoothly things go during the day. Lots of sharing of news about new jobs, writing projects, families - lot of hugs, too, which is no surprise to anyone who's ever been to one of our residencies.

It's almost time for dinner, the sun is shining, students are arriving, and tomorrow morning will start with a focus on incoming students - the "newbies." What I see sometimes in their faces is terror and uncertainty, and what amazes me is how quickly the camaraderie kicks in. I've always told people that for me, grad school in creative writing was 33% about reading (and reading and reading and reading), 33% was about pushing myself and my writing, and 33% was about making good life-long friends who cared as much as I do about intellectual curiosity and creativity. A growing sense of community can do a lot for your confidence.

That adds up to 99% - the extra 1% is a mystery still to me. Like the Big Bang - there's proof to support it, I know it happened, I don't quite get it, and I still feel like it's a miracle. Something happens in graduate school (at least it happened to me) that can't quite be explained. A certain creative chain reaction begins.

More tomorrow as the introductions and gatherings begin. Time now to end the day with a good meal and laughter.


  1. Thanks for posting the rez updates, Julie! Even though Nancy and I will be rolling in together on Wednesday for the alum mini-rez, it still feels like I'm missing so much! That's what that unaccounted 1% does to the VCFA family. We like being with you all and hate to miss out. Can't wait to be around all that enthusiasm and terrific energy...

  2. Julie,

    Thank you so so so much for posting on this blog each day. Not being able to share in the rez experience this year is killing me. Connecting with your insider view makes all the difference.

    I miss you!