Saturday, April 6, 2013

So you have a family and want to go to grad school?

Every once in awhile, I will meet another woman who's husband wants to go to back for more school or perhaps she does. Last night a friend asked, "when is the best time to have a baby, knowing grad school is in the future?"
Let me begin by saying every family has to decide what is best for them. What works for some families will not work for others. These are only the opinions of one person. Most of our friends did grad school, what do y'all think? What would you say to other families considering grad school?

If you are single and want to do grad school and the oppurtunity is right then I recommend going to grad school! Get it over with now.

If you are a family and one or more members want to pursue higher education:

1. Communicate with your spouse. Separately make a list of your core values and what you want your family to look like. Then come together and talk about your lists. Make ONE list together of your families core values. Over the course of grad school remind each other of this list and STICK TO IT.
It would be really really healthy if you went to counseling before you went to grad school.
and did you know most schools have FREE counseling for couples if one person is IN the school? Even if school is a breeze for you, get the counseling! Ideally the counselor will give you tools to help you.

2. Know what you are getting in to. It is hard on a family. A lot of people get divorced without grad school. Even more get divorced in grad school. One person is sacrificing for the other to go to school. The student is sacrificing these years so she/he can advance or step into his/her career and provide for the family. The pressures in different programs can be severe- it is hard for spouses to understand. The student is never really free. There is always work to be done. Their world is very small. As for finances, money is a very stressful thing in marriage. Especially the absence of money. Consider the costs. To those of you who money will be an issue, brace yourselves and stay strong. If and only if you must take minimal loans and persevere.

Grad school is not a bad thing. Just a hard thing. Consider your hardships as discipline. We have a lot of great memories from grad school. It is hard for others to understand what it like. Just like it is hard for you to understand what their life is really like. Be gracious to other families. We all handle things differently. Never compare. It is NEVER the same for any family.

1 comment:

Emily said...

The best advice we received when Adam was contemplating a Ph.D. was to do it while the girls were still super little so they wouldn't remember him being engulfed by it. Now that he's done and our oldest is barely 6, I think that was great advice. Glad it's behind us :)