Graduate story: Sarah Harvey
Students in Master of Fine Arts (MFA) at Colombia University, New York, USA
Bachelor of Arts(majoring in creative writing)
Sarah Harvey achieved what she thought impossible: a place in Columbia University's highly sought-after writing program in New York, just months after completing an arts degree at Southern Cross University. Sarah studied entirely online while living overseas in Amsterdam.
"When I was searching universities in the Netherlands, England and Australia for the right writing degree a few years ago, many weren't offering a major in creative writing. SCU did.
"The clever and flexible structure of the distance study program meant it was easy to stay on track. Discipline was part of it but I certainly didn't find myself struggling online. In fact, I found it quite liberating. I built up good relationships with academics in the School of Arts and Social Sciences, despite the online environment. I really felt that they took me seriously as student and a writer and took an interest in my development.
"I received an excellent foundation at SCU which has prepared me for the challenges of the Columbia MFA."
Sarah's untitled novel, which forms part of her Masters' thesis, is about a female academic who is unmasked as a fraud at the height of her career.
"It's about ethics, academia and the clash of various feminisms. I've been working on it for a little while now, so the seed of the story was developing throughout my final year at SCU."
Sarah, who now lives in New York, is still shaking her head about being accepted into Columbia's two-year Master of Fine Arts.
"The faculty members here at Columbia are Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winners. Not only did the strength of the first couple of chapters of my book impress them, I was also awarded a substantial scholarship for the program.
"When I was younger I didn't see writing as a viable career. Often you are encouraged to develop a fallback position. I did that as well, but as I got older it occurred to me that writing was the direction that I wanted to go in."