The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Grad School

The Good: One gets to meet other intellectually active people who enjoy nerding it up (pernerdimur), and make some life-long friends (BCS, Ma and Pa, Irish–who really deserves a better nickname, Allegresse, to name just a few in my program). One gets to *read* all the time on esoteric subjects that don’t have to have a real-world application. One gets health care, even if one has pre-existing conditions. One gets to think and write, and write and think, and read and think and write and read (but I digress)…

The Bad: One’s friends then leave to go do research abroad (BCS, Ma and Pa last year, Irish and BCS this year, Allegresse and maybe Irish next year)–this means that the friendships that took you three years to make (studies have shown it takes at least two years in a new place to make really *good* friends, and I am slower than average) often have to be conducted long-distance. This is fine in the long-term, as I know that I will always like these people, and want them in my life, make efforts to see them, etc. But it is rather hard in the short term, especially as grad school is an isolating environment to begin with. I have thus far been lucky enough that not all my friends were gone at one time, but even half of them is hard to do without.

The Ugly? That we are often isolated, both by our own will and despite it, and we often don’t have the energy after the reading, writing, thinking (and teaching) to do anything about it. I’m very thankful for the friends I have both here and abroad for making sure it doesn’t get too ugly.

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3 Responses to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Grad School

  1. Ma Torg says:

    I think it is appropriate to say thank you right back.

  2. Pa Torg says:

    It is indeed bittersweet. It does seem to somehow always stop short of getting truly ugly, and the incredible joy of finally seeing people again is the consolation prize for having to say goodbye in the first place. But, as Ma said, it takes two parties willing to take the "risk" and invest in a meaningful relationship even when the handwriting is on the wall that at some point, someone is going to move. We owe you Bollingers much thanks for being willing to invest relational venture capital!

  3. All the verbs we make up are deponent!

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