Folks, I am married to an education addict. My husband is in the middle of his second round of grad school and can sometimes be found daydreaming about a postdoc. The passion, energy, and diligence required for his academic journey is somewhat akin to that of an athlete—at least, that’s what he likes to tell me.
We are both in our late twenties, have two small children, and while most of our off-campus friends are planting roots and building their homes, we are still in what I like to call “the great transition.” Contrary to what you might believe, I am not bitter about this extensive transitional period. I know my husband will be successful and realize his goal of being a professor of philosophy. This transition, though lengthy, is merely a transition.
Sometimes, though, it is good for me to get a little “refresher course” on why we’re not yet planting those roots and signing a mortgage. Here’s our recent refresher dialogue.
Me: Darling, could you remind me again why we’re still in school.
Him: Because school is so fun! I’d be in school forever if I could.
Me: Not an option. Try again.
Him: Ok, it’s not necessarily ‘education’ that I am addicted to. What I’m addicted to is asking questions and finding answers. As Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” I want to live that examined life.
Me: You have been in school too long. Try again.
Him: I want to spend the rest of my life doing what I love. Getting to talk philosophy and igniting that passion in others is what this is all about.
Me: You know, you will have been in school long enough to be a doctor.
Him: Well, I am going to be a doctor. Doctor of philosophy. Boom!
Me: I meant, like, you know a medical doctor. The kind that drives a BMW and has a lake house. Oh, and heals people.
Him: I don’t recommend this career choice for everybody, but for me it just makes sense. Honestly, can you see me doing anything else?? I know I won’t be rich, but I see the perks as loving my job, getting to wear a tweed jacket, and having summers off. It’s a pretty sweet gig.
Actions speak louder than words, right? Even without all the words from our discussion, one thing was clear to me: my husband LOVES what he is doing right now, and if he can stay within the realm of education for the rest of his life he will be a very happy man.
This passion for education does not belong to him alone. I actually had both my kids while in grad school. That’s right. I did grad school, too. Unfortunately, I have yet to finish my degree.
I have taken all of the coursework for an MA in English Literature. I loved going to class and being part of a community of fellow learners. Grad school is way more fun than undergrad because everyone is passionate about their studies.
Why haven’t I finished?
Well, its actually quite difficult to have TWO people in school when you have small children. My plan is to finish my thesis when I have both kids in school. Finishing strong is a huge priority for me–one that I think about often. I come from a family where education is highly valued, and now I want to instill that passion in our children. Shouldn’t be too hard considering how hyped up their daddy is about learning.
If there is one thing I want my kids to take away from this part of their childhood its that education is a sacrifice, but it is also exciting.
Living on a university campus is a very inspiring place to be. I get to see people work towards their dreams, and sometimes, I get to see those dreams come true. I remember when we first moved here watching a husband come home from defending his dissertation. His wife met him on the playground with a bottle of champagne.
Just yesterday I watched as another one of my neighbors ran out of her house to tell her husband some good news. She could barely get the words out, she was so full of emotion. After much sacrifice, she has finished her Ph.D. program and got her dream job as a tenure track professor at a UC school.
My eyes filled with tears as I watched the two of them hug and cry on our weathered playground. They have both worked so very hard for this dream. Being married to someone with the same dream, it was extremely encouraging to get to see them shine.
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