I'm a working professional who's been piddling away at an MFA for the past... oh, five and a half years? 6-or-so units at a time. School starts again on the 4th, and I am just so, so tired.

But I owe it to myself to finish this thing, come hell or high water. And if I'm honest? My MFA has made me. I'm not self-taught by any means; I wouldn't know half what I know about design and art direction if not for my MFA.

On one hand it's frustrating, because by all accounts I'm doing the job I'm going to school to do, and have been for awhile. On the other hand, I would suck at this job if not for all those classes. Academia taught me to see and re-see and curate in a way I see people failing to do all the time. That sounds critical because it is — in my observation, the greatest observable difference between self-taught and "educated"* professional artists is the ability to be meaningfully critical of their own work. Editing is everything.

Thank you, MFA-in-progress, for giving me an editing eye. Thank you for teaching me dissatisfaction.

Now if I could just remember to be thankful for the next couple months.

*for lack of a better term