Katherine Schreiber ’11, MFA ’15

Katherine Schreiber '11 MFA '15Katherine Schreiber ’11, MFA '15 earned her MFA in Nonfiction while co-authoring The Truth About Exercise Addiction. Her writing has appeared in a variety of in-print and online publications, such as Psychology Today, TIME, and Psychcentral.com.

What made you decide to come back to Sarah Lawrence for your MFA?
Several factors! First and foremost: I wanted to return to a place in which I felt comfortable exploring a part of myself through writing that I have hesitated to introduce into unfamiliar environments. I knew that I would feel safer at Sarah Lawrence because I'd been groomed as an alum and also because I had a taste for what the faculty was amenable to, in terms of thesis subject matters. Though I don't doubt I could have received a comparable education elsewhere, I think I would have wasted a great deal of time getting to know a new program, a new set of institutional hoops to leap through, and a new set of faculty. I also wanted to pick up where I'd left off on some writing projects I began during undergrad, specifically a few items I'd started with a faculty member who taught both grad and undergrad courses. And Jo Ann Beard. Just, like, her alone.

What was your favorite class at Sarah Lawrence?
Oy, that's a tough one! ALL of them. Okay, if I had to choose....in undergrad it was "The Talking Cure" with Marvin Frankel. But I also loved the opportunity to take science and statistics courses because in any other school, I likely would have miserably failed at these subjects. Thankfully, I was able to get some serious knowledge under my belt in these realms prior to graduating given the efficacy of Daniel King, Leah Olson, and Drew Cressman's expert instruction.

As for grad school, it's a tie between Jacob Slichter's seminar (because he's insanely awesome...and also happened to be my thesis-advisor-turned-life-guru...and I also think he should get paid more) Jo Ann Beard's seminar (because, again, Jo Ann Beard) and Jeff McDaniel's poetry/prose class.

How does conference week compare to writing on a deadline for places like greatist.com and Psychology Today?
For me, conference week was a breeze compared to my future work. I actually loved conference week because it was expected that everyone would be holed up cranking out 30 plus page papers. I was pretty socially isolated during my undergrad years, so this, to me, was kind of an ideal Friday night anyway. It just felt a lot better when I wasn't the only one doing it. Students should consider the pressure experienced during conference week as training for the real world, and take advantage of the anxiety and stress to learn and practice every single coping skill you can. (Ahem, health services are there for a reason.) This will serve them well once they graduate and face even more strenuous demands, often with much less empathy from higher ups who could care less about their position on Nietzsche.

Granted, I'm a workaholic.

Do you have any new year’s resolutions?
Emotional regulation. Work/life balance. Being kinder to my fiance.

Many people resolve to ‘get fit’ in the new year. You co-wrote a book on the dangers of exercise addiction. Where’s the line between bettering yourself and binging on exercise?
Well, the short answer is if it's causing you more problems and making you more stressed, it's an issue. Pushing through the burn is one thing. Exercising despite illness and injury, another. The sense that you MUST get to the gym, that you CANNOT be flexible in your routine is a hallmark of exercise addiction. Exercise addiction often comes hand in hand with an eating disorder, in which case its consequences (to health and overall wellbeing, not to mention interpersonal relationships) are far more dangerous. It can be tricky because getting to the gym or finding the time to exercise does introduce conflict and stress into many people's schedules—be they exercise addicts or comparatively "normal" folk. Also: Most people work out even though they sometimes hate it. And any regular exerciser gets bummed when they can't workout as they'd planned. But if you're constantly pushing yourself past your bodily limits, unable to deal when you have to alter your routine, obsessed with results (from calories burnt on a cardio machine and the number of reps you do to your weight or body fat percentage), or you feel your exercise regimen prevents you from pursuing meaningful relationships and hobbies, you've likely crossed the line from passion to pathology.