So, how do you juggle an enormous workload, a demanding adviser, and probably a job, with a social life that includes a thriving relationship with a significant other?
They’re your intellectual equals, and hey, convenience is a significant factor in graduate school dating. As an end note, for those of you who haven’t already figured this out, trust us and DON’T date your professors. conferences, but do everyone a favor and don’t succumb to this rookie mistake.
Want to know what grad school will be like for you?
Option one makes your relationship more unstable, but going for option two requires a lot of trust. I won’t lie: when we got close to the three week deadline that the more experienced student had given us, I had a huge crying fit.
You have to believe that your relationship will last through the program, that your partner will see your efforts and be grateful, and that if there’s a time in the future where you’re less available to the relationship, your partner will step up to the plate instead of just leaving you. I think my relationship deserves it, and I think my boyfriend deserves it—he’s seen me through hard times, dealt well with the parts of me that other people would see as difficult, and just been so fun to be around that I want to keep anging out just to see what pun he makes next. We weren’t having relationship problems, but I was still afraid that his grad school would throw us a huge curveball sometime in the next five days, and I’d be hearing, “It’s not you, it’s me…” My boyfriend comforted me.
Remember when you were a person who was not thoroughly consumed by some small and obscure area of expertise? Better yet, do just as much listening to your partner as you do talking.
You may be surprised to discover hidden similarities and character traits that you haven’t been ignoring. You see these folks every day, and maybe you even work elbow-to-elbow with them in a lab or library. One surefire way to complicate the next two to five years of your life is to alienate one of your six colleagues. Consider those awkward dinner dates when you’re competing for the same—possibly niche—positions or post docs.
Be clear with your dating partners about your time constraints—and patient when it comes to theirs. The problem with dating people in your field is that you get sucked into the vortex of kvetching about your thesis, adviser, or students.
Whether you date other students or not, you’ll want to let your significant other know when you’ll be muttering quietly to yourself between the library stacks and when you’ll be feeling social … Dating a professional can remind you that there is a life outside and beyond school that you’re working toward, and that this isn’t the last time you’ll be busy or have a hectic schedule.
My boyfriend’s MFA is in writing, obviously something that I’m interested in as well, and he sometimes jokes that by being with him I’m getting a free MFA.