My name is Colin Orr. I am a second year MFA student in fiction writing at the University of Pittsburgh, a graduate student researcher, and Assistant Instructor at the School of Oom Yung Doe in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh. I wanted to share a small portion of the benefits that I've received from my training as it might relate to other students at the university.
When I was an undergraduate student, I was successful at my studies but I often felt that I was slow and unfocused. This was before I started training in Moo Doe and, while I received high marks, studying and writing seemed to take longer than it should for me. I often found myself turning down opportunities to study things I was interested in but which I believed to be too challenging. As well, I usually required 8-10 hours of sleep a night to feel fully rested and ready to study again.
A year after graduating college I started training. I noticed considerable benefits immediately. My sleep schedule naturally decreased to the point that I felt rested after just five hours of sleep. This occurred after only a few months. I also noticed that my confidence and discipline increased a great deal. I found these two qualities to be absolutely essential in getting accepted into the graduate program in fiction writing at Pitt, a program that annually accepts 7-8 students.
The first semester of my graduate program I was unfunded. This meant that I had to work at night and during the weekend at a restaurant to afford my studies. At this time, I was taking a regular class load and assisting at the Oakland school. My day was essentially non-stop, allowing for about five hours of sleep, the rest of the day devoted to practicing, writing, assisting, reading, and working.
My second semester I was given a temporary teaching assistant position in the philosophy department. This allowed me to cut down on the time I worked at the restaurant but, since it was not permanent, I could not quit the job entirely. My sleep schedule was cut down to about 3 hours a night. As well, since I worked on the weekend, there was no time to catch up there. What I found was, due to my training, I was actually far more focused in class and in my studies than most of my classmates. I found, if I practiced bagwa walk or yuk kun kyung before sitting down to study, I could read 100 pages of extremely dense theoretical material in one sitting, reading quicker and retaining more than I ever could before I started training. This is not to mention the considerable improvement made in my creative writing from meditating regularly.
As a result of the experience I had from teaching Moo Doe, I was also extremely successful my first semester as a teacher. This I owe entirely to the principles that were passed in the school which I simply applied to my teaching at the university.
This testimonial touches on only a portion of the benefits I've received from training. When I was younger, becoming a writer was always a dream of mine. I know for a fact that if I had not stepped into the schools, I would never have had the confidence and the discipline to pursue it as far as I have. I am very thankful for these changes in my life as well as for my opportunity to teach Moo Doe as an Assistant Instructor. If others see just a portion of the benefits I have received from my training, I know they will be happy for the investment they have made in improving themselves.