Someone suggested that I write a post in regards to maintaining a personal (esp. romantic) life amidst a hectic academic/work schedule, given that many prospective students have concerns about this. Let me first say that I have my weaknesses - I can't leave a voicemail message without rambling; I have no idea how to rip off a piece of saran wrap without getting it all tangled; I can't turn in a practicum-site contract on time for the life of me - but when it comes to relationship stuff, yo, I got this one.
First off, I'd like to say that, given that my partner Kishore and I are both graduate students and therefore, both have crazy-busy schedules, I think that redefining our notion of "a relationship" was significant. Yes, Kishore and I each have separate time-consuming interests and responsibilities, but how can we work with all this in a way that is fulfilling?
For the most part, we often try to include each other in our academic lives, particularly by helping each other out with work. For instance, Kishore participates as a subject in many of my homework test administrations. For my first-year Psychological Assessment course, he was my subject for the IQ test. This year he served as a subject for a Rorschach administration. (... although he's been driving me a 'lil nuts ever since I told him that the results imply that he's an "over-integrator" of information. Over-intergrate this, Kishore: TOUGH - COOKIES) As Kishore is a biologist, I always proof-read and edit his papers and often go to his lab to help him with "cell contouring" (I actually have no idea what the heck I'm really doing - I just draw circles around a bunch of images of zebrafish ear cells for hours, and then Kishore says "Thanks!" and buys me dinner).
We also attend and show support at each other's events - for instance, every year he's featured at an interdepartmental talk where he presents his work, and I always sit on someone's shoulders in the back row and throw my bra at him... umm, I mean, I carefully listen to his thoughts on zebrafish cell shape, migration, and rearrangements... Okay, I just sit there in a clueless stupor, but whatever, he's workin' it up there and it's sexy. We also often work together - I'll go to his lab or we'll meet up at a coffee shop to study and read. :)
Also, our different busy work lives have allowed us to be more flexible in recognizing, prioritizing, and valuing other things that make us happy, like other friendships and hobbies. Although Kishore is so important to me, I have many friends and activities that make life a wild ride.
And in the end, despite our different daily routines, we always find time to hang out and have some fun together, even if just by reconvening at the end of each day to talk about what's been happening. I learn a little bit about biology and about who's hooking up with whom in his lab (scientists, man - I'm tellin' ya, they're wild); he learns a little bit about psychology and about my girl pals' romantic rendezvous.' So our seemingly separate lives actually bring us closer together.
Now I have to go - I'm actually kinda writing this blog to avoid "contouring" more cells... Peace, love, and zebrafish ear cells with circles drawn around them.