Today’s blog post was scheduled to be about a simple, yet cute outfit I wore this past weekend to The Boy’s cousin’s birthday party. The thing is, I didn’t even make it out of the house. I was mentally/physically exhausted and while I wanted to celebrate her milestone, I couldn’t pull myself together to put on real clothes (i.e., a bra), comb my hair, put on make up, brave the cold, and be in a club. So as I sat at the computer trying to think up fake words to accompany my pre-shot photos, it dawned on me that I was doing both my readers and myself a disservice. Instead of trying to make you guys think I was looking fabulous and twerking in the club this weekend, I thought I’d address the reason why I had to skip out on the partying. In two simple words, the reason is graduate school. If you have a full-time working graduate student in your life there are some grad school struggles you simply must understand and learn to accept.
1. We don’t have free time. This is by far the biggest one for me and I have a really hard time getting friends/family to get it. I spend 50+ hours between my multiple jobs and that doesn’t even include the time I have to prepare for class, actually suffer through class, do homework, or blogging. On nights I don’t have class, I come home at 6pm basically ready to go straight to bed, but typically still need to do something for work and/or school. By the time my day is truly done, it’s time time to go to bed just to do it all again the next day. Then the weekend comes, thank every higher power there is, and I’m trying to take care of things around the house (i.e. grocery shopping, errands, laundry, etc.), get a head start on the upcoming week, and actually make an attempt to watch MAYBE 2 hours of the 10 hours worth of shows that have accumulated during the week.
2. We are going to miss events. Please re-read the paragraph about us not having free time. Realize this paragraph didn’t even mention obligatory family stuff, working out, “me time”, or a significant other. My point is that time is actually much more scarce than that paragraph describes and we simply just can’t make it to everything. I have such a hard time telling people no and in my heart I never want to pass up on an opportunity to see a friend, but that couple of hours I spend with them is hours away from my books/computer and that time will have to be made up at some point (probably meaning less sleep, see below for that). Trust me, I’d much rather be on the dance floor, snuggling with my grandma, on a date with the Boy, having drinks with the girls, or watching movies with my mom; hell, I’d rather be watching paint dry than doing anything related to school, but I’ve got these silly career aspirations telling me this is what I have to do.
3. We can’t achieve work-life balance. Does anyone have work-life balance? I strongly detest whoever came up with this unrealistic concept of work-life balance. Ideally, work and life should carry equal importance and one will ever be burdened with so much work that their personal life suffer. News flash, this is NEVER the case….unless you’re like 1 in 10 people that actually loves their job. Personally, I spend all this time working to pay bills and sneak shopping/trips in as often as possible. There is no fairy God mother saying “welp you’ve worked a ton this month and haven’t spent time with the people you love, so take this next week off from work to focus on life”. Our lives are basically work, work, work, life while working, work…you get the point.
4. We are broke. You know how everyone talks about how expensive undergrad is? Well grad school is up there too! I pay $1440.00/credit. For ONE credit, ONE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED FORTY DOLLARS! My entire degree is 45 credits, you do the math. Unfortunately, unlike undergrad, scholarships and free money aren’t as bountiful. Financial aid typically comes in the form of loans (yay interest) and then you still have to buy insanely overpriced books that you’ll probably never use. If you’re a working adult like me, you’re trying to pay for grad school AND have a ton of regular bills eating through your pockets too. So no, we can’t go on that trip with you for your birthday and sorry we definitely can’t go buy multiple $12 drinks on a Friday night just because it’s the weekend (again, what is a weekend?), but you are more than welcome to come over for grilled cheese and $5 bottles of wine.
— Christian (@ChrissyfromCaLi) October 24, 2015
5. We hate graduate school. I could probably start a new blog all about my hatred for graduate school. My grievances with the entire idea start at the fact that many are saying a Master’s degree is becoming equivalent to an undergraduate degree. In other words, you have to have a Master’s degree. Additionally, in the mid to late twenties, the time when a large majority of people are pursuing Master’s degrees, there are so many other things we want to do before we are restricted by families. Grad school basically gets in the way and ruins any idea of fun we thought we’d be having during this time. I’ve seriously never heard someone say they love grad school, it’s just a necessary evil.
6. Sleep is our best friend. Almost every morning when I wake up, I think about how I can’t wait to go back to sleep that night. I mean seriously, before my feet have even hit the floor I’m fantasizing about when my head will feel my pillow again. During the day, my mind always wanders off to how nice it would be to take a nap. My ideal weekend actually includes never leaving my bed. So if you are calling me after 10:30pm it better be life or death because this is the one time my brain is actually off and not obsessing about the overwhelming amount of stuff I have to do.
I’m not trying to complain or rally a pity party from those of you reading this, but I really think it’s hard to understand someone else’s situation when you aren’t in it. Going to grad school is hard on its own, but when you add a full time job and family, things quickly get messy. I know I personally live life right on the cusp of having everything together and running away to find Neverland. So the next time you’re in your feelings because the full-time working grad student in your life hasn’t called, texted, or invited you to hang out, realize they’ve got what I like to call “real life sh*t” going on and blame it on their mind, not their heart because the grad school struggles are real.