I am quite surprised that I have not covered this topic much sooner. This is a huge subject that hopefully I will be able to do justice. Dating in grad school can be a wonderful, difficult, frustrating, exciting, and overall fun experience. Yes, it will require a ton of work, and some patience, but it is do-able. I have had many friends date in grad school and I am currently dating a wonderful lawyer now. Yes, you can even date lawyers lol.
As I said above, it can be frustrating, exciting, and totally worth it. In some cases it might not be the best idea to date in grad school. Sometimes, you will be so bogged down with work that you won’t be able to put in any effort to make things work. For the most part, I truly believe that dating in grad school is very possible, though it might be difficult in some ways which I will discuss. Also, here’s a helpful guide to those thinking about dating a grad student lol.
How Dating in Grad School is difficult
So, I want to start off with the difficult aspects of dating in grad school. The first real hurdle to bypass is dealing with your workload and having time to develop a relationship with an individual. If you are constantly working, you won’t have time to really see the other person and really bond with them. This can lead to many failed attempts at getting a boyfriend/girlfriend. Grad school is busy, and can be overwhelming at times, which makes finding time to see and hang with someone difficult.
Age can play an important role in dating. Grad students are usually a bit older than undergrads so they may tend to date outside of the college. I know many people that have a hard time because the vast majority of college students are much younger than them and they have a hard time relating to undergrads. Age definitely is a factor when dating in grad school.
Not being able to connect with others
Grad students are pretty much from another planet. We thrive off of failure and low p-values. The stuff that we talk about, thinking it’s trivial, might be so complex for non grad students. This often makes it very hard to connect with people. Our problems that we face are not normal problems either. Dealing with lab equipment failing, loneliness, depression, low wages, and rejections from journals might not be the most common problems to connect with people over. This can make dating other people a bit difficult because you can’t really bond over problems. Yeah bonding over problems is a real thing lol.
People are always coming and going
If you are in a doctoral program, you will be in school for a minimum of 5 years after undergrad. That’s a long time in the academic world. You are going to see students come in as freshman and leave before you even get your first paper published. This is why dating is very hard. People tend to come and go so much and long distance relationships are quite difficult to have while in grad school. It is not like you ca get up and go with someone to a new town and just continue your research. In some cases you can, but for people that require a lab, it’s impossible. This is why it’s very hard to date, especially when you’re significant other is done with college and looking for jobs or moving away.
Benefits of Dating in Grad School
Trust me when I tell you, dating in grad school is doable. It has a ton of benefits as well and I am very happy that I am in a relationship while going through this process.
The support I receive from my girlfriend is one of the reasons I haven’t given up. I’ve been in grad school for 5 years and I’ve been in college for almost 11. I need the support. Having someone in grad school that supports you can be the difference between giving up and graduating. Of course you can finish without having the support of a significant other. I’m saying that it makes it a bit easier. Also, having someone else in your life can help with financial support. Something we all need lol.
It helps take your mind off work
I want everyone to know that working all of the time is toxic and a terrible idea! Dating in grad school gives you a really good excuse to leave all of your work at work and go and enjoy yourself. If you are just starting the dating process, go to as many fun things as possible. Go to the movies, dinner, shows, etc. Leave all of your work worries in your office and go enjoy yourself and the company of someone else. You’ll start to notice that you’re happier and you’ll probably do better in your research and school work.
You’ll feel less lonely
If you haven’t read my blog about feeling lonely in grad school, I highly suggest checking it out. Here is a link to that. One of the things you will definitely experience in grad school is feeling lonely. Dating in grad school will help that a ton. It’s nice to be able to come home and talk with someone about your day. Often grad students don’t get that opportunity because they are in the lab all day then go home to an empty apartment. It can get quite lonely. Having someone to see after a long day by yourself can really make your whole day. It can also help combat depression and anxiety.
So is it worth it to Date in Grad School
Coming from someone who has been in a 6 year relationship, yes it is worth it. In fact I was dating my girlfriend while she went to grad school and now she is here to support me through my experience. It can be done. The best part is being able to have someone there for the support. I truly think that that support is what is keeping me here.
It may take a bit of effort and time but I think dating in grad school is totally worth it and a great way to spend your free time. Being able to spend the time you have with someone you like or love is time well spent.
What was your experience with dating in grad school? Did you enjoy it? Are you still with the individual you dated? Would you advise people to date in grad school? Let me know in the comments. As always, I hope you have a great day! Until next time, peace!