On August 5th, the inaugural class of MFA students at Grady College were recognized in convocation ceremonies. Of the fourteen graduating students who completed the new, two year, low-residency narrative writing program, Sarra Sedghi is the youngest program graduate and member of the non-fiction writing cohort.
While earning her AB and ABJ undergraduate degrees in English and magazine journalism at UGA, Sedghi took a critical writing class taught by Valerie Boyd, director of the program’s narrative nonfiction track.
“On the first day of class, when [Boyd] introduced herself, she mentioned that she was developing this program and I immediately knew I had to be part of it,” says Sedghi. “The whole outline of the program infatuated me. I thought the program would help tie my journalism studies with my “artsier” writing style, which was something I struggled with in undergrad. I was also drawn to the concept of working with a mentor, especially as a young writer with a constant need for validation.”
Students in the low-residency program spend most of their time outside the classroom, so creating and maintaining relationships with students and mentors can be crucial.
“This program is daunting, especially at 23 with barely any newsroom experience -- it turns out that my classmates were afraid too, and they were veterans that worked with great organizations,” says Sedghi. She advises future students to develop relationships with people in your program if you can. “They’re going to be the ones who understand what you’re going through. Even though I only see them a handful of times a year, I consider my fellow students some of my dearest friends. You’re never alone. I don’t want to trivialize this degree and compare the program to summer camp, but that’s the mentality behind our relationships. I know I’ll have this loving network for the rest of my life.”
Now, Sedghi is freelance writing for varied publications. She is currently working on a Sonic Slushie piece, where she tested and ranked all Sonic's slushie flavors based on taste.
“I spent a year interning and freelancing before joining the program, with a lot of focus on developing a solid application portfolio. Currently I’m freelancing with better bylines and much more confidence,” she says. As for the future, Sedghi hopes to continue to freelance and to one day teach others to write.