Grad Life Voices: Making Sacrifices

Peter Hayes

-written by Lacey, a current graduate wife

In the past couple years, my husband and I have learned the importance of working together in order for him to get through grad school. Most of his colleagues don’t have families, and sometimes it seems it gives them an advantage. We both agree that it is important that he focuses as much as he can on his work. I don’t want him to have to deal with the stresses of family life especially when he’s approaching a deadline. His schedule is crazy. I’d say most days it doesn’t bother me, but then other days I feel so alone.

About six months ago, I was just about done with all of this grad school stuff. I was working a job that I absolutely hated and after applying to job after job with no luck, I felt like I was trapped there. As much as I hated my job, it had its benefits. It was close to home, I got a lot of time off and although it wasn’t great, the pay was manageable. I would go through times where I would just tell myself to suck it up, but the job was so draining. Around the time that I quit, we started to have childcare issues. With both our incomes combined, we could not afford most daycares. We first enrolled our girls into a program that we liked, but the hours didn’t work for us. We had to hire a babysitter to fill in when the daycare’s schedule didn’t fit with ours. We found someone I loved and who was able to work with us on price. But then, of course, she moved, and we had trouble finding a good replacement for her. I think losing the provider that we loved was where things went downhill for me. I hated that I was dropping my kids off with someone I wasn’t crazy about so that I could work a job that I hated. I really felt I had no control over my own life. I was so unhappy and it was really starting to affect my life with my family.

Finally, we discussed my quitting. I opened up a shop online before the awful job just to see where it would go, and I used it while I was employed to help relieve stress. Since quitting, I’ve been able to focus more on it. Some months I make pretty good sales, but it nowhere compares to my old income. I’m a lot happier now and it’s been easier for me to be the support my husband needs. I miss being able to eat out whenever we wanted and not having to worry so much about finances, but I don’t have the stress from the job and childcare. My husband doesn’t have to work his schedule around dropping off and picking up kids. We don’t have to stress out about snow days and one of the kid’s billionth sick day. I will be honest and say there were times that I resented my husband because I felt I was putting aside my happiness for his career. I’ve always been an optimistic, happy person, but the job I had brought out a bad side. I’m happy to be doing something for me for once. I get to work towards my goals and I get to spend quality time with my girls. Still, it’s a short term solution, and I am currently on the job hunt again. I’m hoping this time around I will find something that’s actually rewarding!

It seems with this journey, we’re going to make sacrifices no matter what, and we have to figure out which are worth making. If we really knew what we were getting ourselves into, we may not have chosen grad school. I’m happy we did though. We may not be living a comfortable life now, but I know in the long run this will be worth it, and my husband will actually be doing something he enjoys and believes is important.

As a graduate wife, what sacrifices have you had to make?

City Escape: Boston

 

Fenway Park 2

Fenway Park

Have you ever wondered where the readers/writers of this blog live? The answer is all over the world! We thought it would be fun to feature various cities our fellow graduate wives reside in….now you can see their cities through their eyes! If you’d like to feature your city, please contact us at thegraduatewife@gmail.com.

-written by Jennifer, a current graduate wife

I could write for days about all there is to see and do in Boston. This charming, historical city is chocked full of fascinating sights and hidden little treasures. Each week when Friday would come, I would let out a sigh of joy and dive into the weekend.

My hubs often jokes that it’s a miracle he even made it through his first year. Rarely was there a weekend that we would spend time at home. Each and every spare moment was dedicated to travel. We worked hard during the week, and the weekend was our time to explore.

Boston is a manageable city and many of the greatest sights can be seen in just a few days. Though some of my favorite days exploring were spent away from the crowds, the major attractions in Boston are not to be missed. With a vast array of museums, sports, historical sights, restaurants, shopping and outdoor activities, there’s a little bit of something for everyone to enjoy.

If you are just visiting for a weekend, don’t be afraid of tourist traps. In a town where there’s something historical everywhere you look, you learn to embrace all that you see, even if you are surrounded by a crowd.

For those lucky enough to live in this great city or stay longer than just a few days, with time, you’ll discover your favorite places and create a Boston that’s all your own. Some of our best days were days that we spent trying to get lost. We discovered fun little coffee shops and thrift stores, quirky restaurants and abandoned parks. I could have spent a lifetime exploring, and would have never of gotten bored.

For the sake of this post, you’ll find a few of my favorite things to do, including both “touristy” and “non-touristy” options, as well as a few pointers and tips that I picked up along the way.

See Something Historical:

  • Walk the ENTIRE Freedom Trail. On a pretty day, this 2.5-mile trail is the best way to explore the city. With 16 historic sights and some of the best views of the city, there’s no better way to explore Boston. Start by picking up a cup of Joe from The Thinking Cup and enjoy a stroll around the Public Gardens. From the gardens, make your way over to the Boston Commons where you’ll find the visitor’s center and the starting point of the trail. Pick up some information and a map, and just follow the yellow red brick road.

The trail will first take you to the Massachusetts State House before leading you to the famous Park Street Church. From there, you’ll talk a walk through the Granary Burying Ground, resting place of many notable Revolutionary War-era patriots, including three signers of the Declaration of Independence, Paul Revere, and five victims of the Boston Massacre.

From the burying grounds you’ll head to the King’s Chapel and Old South Meeting House, before landing at the Old Corner Bookstore, the oldest commercial building in Boston. From the bookstore, the trail leads to the sight of the Boston Massacre as well as the Old State House. You’ll then head straight to the middle of Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall, and excellent spot for shopping and lunch. There’s a food court here that offers a little something for everyone, but for those wanting to sit and take their time, a meal at Durgin-Park is always a good choice.

Looking for something a little more historical? Take a slight detour over to the Union Oyster House, Boston’s oldest restaurant, and then enjoy a beer right next door at the Bell In Hand Tavern, Boston’s oldest bar. After lunch, continue on down the trail with a walk through the historic North End, Boston’s little Italy.

Here you’ll enjoy a tour of the Paul Revere House, Old North Church, and the Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, as well as some of the best pasta and pastries in the city. Mike’s Pastry is always great (the amaretto cannoli and lobster tail pastry are top notch), and for dinner, Giacomo’s is my favorite. The line is always lengthy, but if you time it right, you can avoid a long wait. The fra diavolo linguine with scallops is great, and the fried calamari for an appetizer is the way to go.

Giacamos

Giacamos

Continue your tour with a stroll across the bridge over to Charlestown to explore the USS Constitution before ending the day with a 294-step climb to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument. Take in the views and give yourself a pat on the back. The tour is over. Head back to the North End and enjoy a large plate of spaghetti!

Alternatively, this tour can easily be split into two days. If you choose this route, I recommend saving Charlestown for your second day. Everything up to that point is manageable in one day, or even just a couple of hours if you’re speedy.

  • Get lost on the crooked, cobblestone streets of Beacon Hill, Boston’s most historic neighborhood. Known for old colonial brick row houses with colorful doors, decorative ironwork, brick sidewalks, and narrow streets lined with gas lamps, this is Boston in its most quintessential state. Enjoy unparalleled New England antiquing on Charles Street, or sit and enjoy a scoop of ice cream from the Boston original and favorite, J.P. Licks.
Beacon Hill

Beacon Hill

  • Take a tour of Fenway Park. If you aren’t interested in attending a game or can’t find tickets, taking a park tour is a great way to see this historical landmark. Another interesting option is to visit the Bleacher Bar, a restaurant and bar lying beneath the bleachers in center field. With a window that looks directly through centerfield and into the park, the view can’t be beat. Show up really, REALLY, early on game days to snag a seat, or just drop in on a nongame day for a unique view of the field. OH, and whether you attend a game or not, be sure and enjoy a Fenway sausage from one of the carts parked outside of the park. Noms…

Do Something Artsy:

  • While there are many great museums to visit in Boston, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is easily my top choice. Additionally, the Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Science, and though not technically a museum, the New England Aquarium, are all great options for a rainy day.
  • If you enjoy music, there are many great ways to catch a live show in Boston. Watching an outdoor concert at the Hatch Shell is always fun, and if you can afford it, the Boston Sympathy Orchestra is not to be missed. Alternatively, with the Berklee College of Music located just downtown, there are always great live and inexpensive shows taking place. Just check the school’s website to find a schedule. Another unique option is to enjoy a drink and some Jazz at Wally’s Café, located in the quirky South End.

Drink Good Beer:

  • With a bevy of breweries scattered about New England, a brewery tour is a must. While a visit to the Sam Adam’s Brewery is essential, touring the Boston favorite Harpoon Brewery is not to be missed. For just $5, one can enjoy a tour of the facility, and all the beer that you can throw down in a half hour time span. For those not interested in a tour, the newly finished German style beer hall is a great spot to enjoy a pretzel and a pint. If you are looking for a meal after your tour of Harpoon, the Yankee Lobster Company, which is just down the road, is an excellent place to stop.
Harpoon

Harpoon

  • Enjoy a pint at Washington Square at The Publick House. Located in Brookline, this gastropub with an old-world feel offers 30 selections on tap and 100+ bottled options, all served at the appropriate temperature and in the correct glassware, might I add, making it the place to be to enjoy your favorite craft beer or rare import, or to try something new. Looking for a snack to enjoy while you drink? You can’t go wrong with the Monk’s Frites. These Belgian style fries are superb. Enjoy them with some truffle ketchup and garlic-asiago mayonnaise to really put them over the top. If you’re looking for something a little heavier, their mac and cheese is award winning and well worth the calories.
  • If you insist on visiting Cheers, be sure to visit the Beacon Street location. There is a second restaurant located at Faneuil Hall, but if you are a fan of the show, the Beacon Street location is the one that you are after.

Take a Campus Tour:

  • With over 100 colleges and universities in the greater Boston area, a campus tour is an essential part of any visit to Boston. My personal favorite (although I might be a bit biased) is the Boston College Campus. The English Collegiate/Neo-Gothic architecture that adorns the property is truly breathtaking. Before starting your tour, pick up a bowl of ice cream from my all time favorite, White Mountain Creamery. I could eat an entire pint of the Cookie Monster in one sitting. The Death By Chocolate is also another good choice.

    Boston College

    Boston College

  • While I am admittedly biased toward BC, another personal favorite, and a must see Boston (well, technically Cambridge) attraction is the Harvard University Campus.  Walk along the famed Harvard Yard and rub John Harvard’s toe for good luck. The Harvard Peabody Museum is also worth a stop, as is an afternoon spent in the eclectic shops and restaurants of Harvard Square.
  • While you’re on that side of the river, you might as well swing by MIT. The unique and modern architecture is fun to look at, and being on the campus alone makes you feel smarter. From campus, head over to the esplanade on the Charles River for one of the best views of the city.

    MIT Campus

    MIT Campus

Other Notables:

  • If you are anywhere near Brighton on a Monday night, head over to The Green Briar Pub for a pint and some authentic live Irish music. Each Monday night, a group of vibrant Irishmen and women gather around with their instruments and fill the bar with lively Irish tunes.
  • Drink a cup of hot chocolate from LA Burdick. If it’s hot outside, drink a cup anyway. While they are known for their dark hot chocolate, I have found that the milk hot chocolate is the way to go (and I am a dark chocolate lover). On a cold and snowy day, this is the perfect treat to help you warm up. If it’s not cold, well, like I said, just drink a cup anyway. Trust me… you’ll thank me that you did.
  • If you’re looking to put a dent in your credit card, enjoy a day of shopping on Newbury Street. Even if you don’t want to shop, a stroll down this attractive street is worth your time. If you need a break from shopping, a stop at Trident Booksellers and Café is a good choice.
  • Take a whale watching tour. Scoring a Groupon not only once, but twice, I was able to see these majestic creatures in the wild two incredible times. While I never took a tour directly out of Boston, I know that the New England Aquarium offers tours seven days a week in season.
  • Tour a chocolate factory. Taza Chocolate Factory, located on the other side of Cambridge in Somerville, is a great experience for chocolate lovers. This local, stone-ground, organic, Mexican chocolate is a real treat. Seeing the small factory where it’s made only adds to its sweetness.
  • Enjoy a Sunday afternoon at the SoWa Market. Head out early for brunch at Gaslight Brasserie Du Coin before browsing through the endless booths of famer’s market goodies, antique finds, and homemade crafts at the market next door. Enjoy a late lunch at one of the market’s numerous food trucks, and delight in an afternoon of people watching. Before you leave, be sure to stop by Bobby from Boston, an eclectic little shop full of vintage goods and clothing.
  • Indulge in a sweet treat from Flour Bakery. The homemade Oreo cookie is an excellent choice, and their Belgian chocolate brownies are rather decadent.
  • Though a little touristy, a meal at Legal Sea Foods is not to be missed. Though there are nearly 20 locations to choose from in the Boston area, my personal favorite is Legal Harborside, located in Boston’s seaport district.
  • Have a lobster bake! You’ll easily find lobster almost anywhere you go in Boston, but if you have access to a kitchen wherever you’re staying, it’s much cheaper to cook it on your own. If you’re visiting Boston in the summer, a pound of lobster will likely cost less than a pound of organic chicken. While it’s cheaper to purchase live lobsters outside of the city, you can find it at almost any grocery store or market that you visit. The James Hook Company, located on the historic waterfront district has a great selection as does the Brighton Fish Company, located on the West side of the city near the Boston College campus. If you don’t have a kitchen, head to the Brighton Fish Company. They’ll cook your lobster for you at no additional cost.

    Lobster Bake

    Lobster Bake

  • Enjoy a drink at the top level of the Prudential Center. Alternatively, you can take a tour at the Skywalk Observatory, but for roughly the same price, you can sip cocktails with unparalleled views at the Top of the Hub
  • Take a quick trip outside of the city. While I could devote an entire post dedicated to Boston road trips (maybe next time!), I will leave you with a few of my favorite destinations located within an hourish drive of Boston. Gloucester (particularly a visit to Halibut State Park) and downtown Rockport, Walden Pond, Old Sturbridge Village, and the Cape Cod National Seashore.
Cape Cod National Seashore

Cape Cod National Seashore

Old Sturbridge Village

Old Sturbridge Village

Downtown Rockport

Downtown Rockport

 

Walden Pond

Walden Pond

Pointers and Tips:

  • Boston is a very walkable city. Wear comfortable shoes and see as much as you can by foot.
  • If you plan to visit more than just a few days and intend to spend much time on the “T” (AKA, the subway), buy a week pass. It’ll pay for itself in just a few rides, and it’s a convenient thing to have. Plus, it’s also good for buses, which comes in handy when there is no T stop on your route.
  • Be sure to check calendar.boston.com before your trip. While there’s always something fun going on in Boston, sometimes an event calendar can really help you decide what to see and do if you’re short on time.
Halibut State Park

Halibut State Park

 

*all images original to Jennifer Doss

 

 

 

The Graduate Wife Dictionary: Vocabulary of Grad School

dictionary crdotx flickr

credit

When stepping into the world of graduate school, how many of us knew the lingo used? We know we spent a good while asking our husbands, “What does that mean?” when they first started grad schools. For those of you starting out on your graduate journey, our team thought we’d create a list of words we’d wish we had known when we started our journey! We hope it helps. -Mandy & M.C.

Academic Ranks

Adjunct Instructor- An adjunct instructor is a part time faculty member, often hired on a per course or per semester basis.

Lecturer- Lecturer is the lowest academic rank. At many universities, lecturers are non-tenure track faculty members so they may be on part time or short term contracts that have to be renewed once the term is ended.

Senior Lecturer- After several years of teaching at a university, a lecturer may be promoted to senior lecturer, which often comes with higher pay and more seniority. This is also a non-tenure track rank and many senior lecturers are on short term contracts that have to be renewed after one, two, or three years.

Assistant Professor- Assistant professor is the entry level rank for tenure track professors. At most universities, faculty members serve 6-7 years as assistant professors before they are considered for tenure and promotion to associate professor.

Associate Professor- Associate professor is the middle rank in the tenure track. Promotion to associate professor often comes after a 6-7 year probationary period, with intensive performance reviews. At many universities, this promotion is considered alongside the decision to grant the faculty member tenure or not.

Professor- Professor, while used by many students and people outside of the university as a catch-all term for all faculty members, is technically the highest academic rank. At most universities, becoming a full professor takes at minimum 12 years of service and tenured status.

Professor Emeritus- A professor emeritus is a retired professor, often one that has been granted special recognition by the university for outstanding service. At some universities, professors emeritus may sit on graduate student committees.

Tenure-Tenure is a system of career protections unique to the academic world. Faculty members with tenure undergo evaluation less frequently, have longer term contracts, and are more difficult to fire or layoff than their non-tenured colleagues. Tenure was developed to protect faculty members from being fired for controversial, unpopular, or critical speech and publications.

Tenure Track- The tenure track refers to the career path found at many universities for full time faculty. Tenure track often includes a 2-4 year probationary contract at the assistant professor rank, followed by an evaluation, then another 2-4 year probationary contract still at the assistant professor rank. At the end of the second probationary period, the faculty member is evaluated and either granted tenure and promoted to associate professor, or if tenure and promotion is denied, may have to leave the university and find work elsewhere. In many fields of study, tenure track positions are highly competitive and difficult to obtain, especially for new graduates.

Non Tenure Track- Non tenure track positions do not come with the protections of the tenure track. They may still be full time positions, but are often on shorter contracts that must be evaluated and renewed every 1-3 years. If the university no longer needs a non tenure track faculty member at the end of his/her contract period, the university may choose not to renew the faculty member’s contract and he/she would have to find work elsewhere. Many new graduates begin their academic career in non tenure track positions.

 

 

 

 

 

The Graduate Wife Dictionary: Vocabulary of Grad School

dictionary crdotx flickr

credit

When stepping into the world of graduate school, how many of us knew the lingo used? We know we spent a good while asking our husbands, “What does that mean?” when they first started grad schools. For those of you starting out on your graduate journey, our team thought we’d create a list of words we’d wish we had known when we started our journey! We hope it helps. -Mandy & M.C.

Funding

1098-T- A 1098-T is a U.S. government tax form that shows what a student paid to a university in tuition and fees, and any scholarships the student received from the university. The 1098-T is usually provided by the university’s Bursar, and is either mailed to the student or available online in January of each year. 1098-Ts are used to help calculate income tax owed and education related income tax credits.

Federal Direct Plus Loan for Graduate Students- Federal Direct Plus Loans for Graduate Students are student loans available through the U.S. Department of Education to fund graduate studies. Unlike scholarships and grants, loans must be repaid. You can learn more about Federal Direct Plus Loans for Graduate Students here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/types/loans/plus

Fulbright Fellowships/Grants- A Fulbright Grant or Fellowship is a grant provided through the U.S. State Department to support research and study abroad. You can learn more about the Fulbright program here: http://us.fulbrightonline.org/about/history

Grant Funded Position- A grant funded position is a job at a university that is paid for by funds from outside of the university, for instance from the state or federal government or a non-profit foundation. A faculty member, department, or research program applies for the grant to support a specific research project or program. The granting agency provides money to the university which may then be used to pay the salaries of faculty members or graduate students who are working on that specific project. Grants may only be for a short time, or may have to be renewed frequently. If the grant ends or the grant money runs out, the grant funded position will also end.

Lifetime Learning Tax Credit (LLC) – The lifetime learning tax credit is a US government federal income tax credit available to graduate students. To learn more about this credit and if you or your partner is eligible visit the IRS’s website: http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/LLC

Scholarship- A scholarship is money provided to a student specifically for paying his or her tuition.

Stipend- A stipend is money paid to a student in exchange for work as a graduate assistant or to cover living expenses while on a fellowship. A stipend is different from a scholarship because it covers expenses beyond tuition, while a scholarship only covers tuition. It is also important to note that while scholarships are usually not taxed, a stipend is considered taxable income.

W-2- A W-2 is a U.S. government tax form that documents how much an employee earned and how much tax was taken out of their paychecks over the course of a year. It is used when filing income tax returns and may also be used as evidence for need based scholarships. In the case of a graduate student, a stipend would appear on a W-2 as taxed income, while a scholarship would appear on a 1098-T as untaxed income.

 

 

 

 

Monday’s Food for Thought: The Topography of Tears

new food for thought

How many times have you cried in your life? Although I’m not sure we could narrow it down to a specific number, I’m sure we would all agree that we have cried different types of tears: happy, sad, angry, grieving……the list could go on and on!

Over the summer, I stumbled across the most fascinating article about tears. After a season of personal change and loss, photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher, wondered if her tears of grief would look any different from her tears of happiness, so she set out to explore them up close, using tools of science to make art and to ponder personal and aesthetic questions. Thus The Topography of Tears project was born, which is a study of 100 tears photographed through a standard light microscope.

The photography is stunning, I’ve included one image below, which are tears of ‘laughing till I’m crying’ but you really should go check it out, too!

tears

Happy Monday!

~Mandy

Grad Life Voices: Life is Now

“It’ll only be two more years,” said the professor’s wife, smiling. She looked so confident, her dyed-blonde hair attractively styled, clothes and jewelry perfectly coordinated. As she encouraged us that we could do it, that seminary wasn’t all that long, I tried to smile back while a voice inside my head screamed, “Two more? Not for me!” Not even a month into the school year, I already struggled to find joy in my circumstances and the speaker’s intended encouragement felt more like a bag full of rocks.

I sat with a group of first year student wives; we listened, a little wide-eyed, on comfortable couches nestled close to the expansive fireplace. Every month, the seminary women met in the administration building, an old mansion, to socialize and listen to a professor’s wife or guest speaker give a short talk. When I walked through the mansion’s huge double doors into the wood-paneled foyer, I felt as if I should be greeted by a butler who would bow slightly and say, “Right this way, Madame.” Even with no butler, the opulent surroundings dazzled me a little in contrast to our run-down little house which boasted rusty well water, a miniature oven that burned everything, and living room windows so low that you had to sit down to see outside!

Many husbands of women in the room planned to be pastors and would indeed finish school in three years. Mine, however, looked ahead to a PhD and at least five additional years in school, which sounded to my new-bride ears like an eternity. Although I still had much to learn, that day I realized that I couldn’t just count the years, the days, until school was done and, “real life” could begin. If I did, then time, a precious gift from God, would slip past unnoticed while I pitied my hardships as a student wife. No, I realized. Life is now.

I am now six years into my journey as a student wife (with at least four to go) and I would like to offer encouragement to those of you on the same journey. G. K. Chesterton wrote that “an adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered.” My husband and I often refer to our grad school life as an adventure. We could endure this time as challenge, and we might survive. Or we could choose to enjoy it and really live.

So how do we live in the now instead of straining our eyes to glimpse the future, that elusive time when our partners have a “normal” job? I’ve found that it helps me to focus on the good things about this time in graduate school instead of the difficulties. And don’t get me wrong, I fully understand that it can be tough. I too stare at the budget and wish the stipend stretched just a little further and I can feel jealous of the Latin book which often replaces me as my husband’s evening companion. And yet, this time on our grad school journey has been a wonderful time of new places and experiences. We moved from a little Mid-Western town to the Pacific Northwest, back to the Mid-West, then to the Eastern coast. In each place, and during the long moves in between, I met many interesting people and stocked my memory full of beautiful places: orcas swimming in Puget Sound, deep shaded evergreen woods, long stretches of desert studded with strange and fantastic rock formations, fields upon fields of corn and beans, peaceful bay waters stretching past seeing. All these experiences I owe to grad school.

Not only is it important to find the particular benefits of being a grad student wife, but I have found that simple gratitude helps me live in the now. This past year, I read a book by Ann Voskamp entitled One Thousand Gifts. In it she encourages readers to notice and give thanks for God’s abundant blessings in our lives. As I tried to follow her advice, the sheer number of blessings overwhelmed me. I saw God’s love as I savored morning coffee steaming in my favorite pink mug, I found it in a fog-breaking rainbow across the harbor and when I basked in a quiet golden-pink sunrise. Simply noticing and thanking God for His blessings has been perhaps the most important way for me to remain content with my current season of life.

While gratitude is the key to enjoying our time during grad school, I have also found several practical tips which help me fully live in the present. First, keep your priorities and passions alive. My husband and I place a strong priority on remaining open to children, so now outstretched arms and excited cries of “Daddy!” barrage his ears as he steps in the door, a daily reminder of life beyond the papers and lectures. Our choice to start a family, perhaps more than any other, has helped us to recognize that our life is not on hold during school. Families and situations differ but what is most important to your family should dictate your life during grad school, not the other way around.

Supporting a partner through grad school is a worthy task, but don’t let the busyness drive you to abandon your own interests. It may sound implausible to fit your own interests into a schedule already overflowing with housekeeping, child-raising and perhaps a job or homeschooling. And yet, I have found that everyone in my house benefits from a happier mama. If I stop to read a good book, or play the piano, or sew something, it helps me remember the person that I am, one that I often forget amid crying children and piles of laundry. Being a graduate student’s wife requires sacrifice, but we don’t have to play the martyr by needlessly giving up what we care about.

One of the most important ways to live your life now is to keep a strong relationship with your partner. One practice that has been very important to my husband and me during graduate school is our weekly date night. I use the word “date” rather loosely since it almost never involves leaving our house. Our actual activities may not seem that exciting to anyone else: watching Star Trek re-runs or classic movies on Netflix, reading The Lord of the Rings or Flannery O’Connor’s short stories aloud, my husband attempting to teach me chess, or just sitting on the couch to talk. Perhaps the best part of date night for me is that my husband schedules time to be with me. No books, no papers, no planner, just us. As I’m sure all of you student wives know, school work is practically endless and it is important for you and your husband to set boundaries. My husband also schedules time with our children during the week. These set aside times help keep our focus in the right place. School, however important, is just school. People come first.

Mother Teresa once said “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” We wives have great power to set the tone for our families. It is in large part up to us whether this graduate school season is miserable or fabulous. So ladies, let’s make time with our partners a priority, let’s keep our passions alive, and let’s choose gratitude. Your life is now. Let us begin.