By Rachel Davis |

The decision to do a PhD requires a level of commitment I don’t think I fully realised when I started in September. Embarking on a three-year research project that hopefully adds Dr. to the front of my name has essentially put life on hold. One casualty of the PhD I was not expecting is my dating life. When you meet someone new, there’s nothing worse than the abject horror that appears on their face when you casually mention your PhD-status. Perhaps even worse still, is when they misunderstand your topic completely and you have to act quickly to avoid rolling your eyes. The following are pros and cons of dating within and without academia. This is just observations from my life, not advice- although if anyone has any of that I’d be happy to hear it!

I’ve realised that all of the attributes that are positive when it comes to the PhD are usually negative when it comes to dating, like being stubborn, fiercely determined, independent, and capable of going for weeks at a time with minimal contact with other people. It is going to take a certain type of person to my life right now. On the one hand, I could date a fellow academic; they have similar schedules, understand the unique stresses that a PhD causes, and can match you in hours spent in the library. However, dating an academic also comes with competition that you wouldn’t have with dating someone outside academia. There’s a potential for awkwardness when you’re both going after the same funding or job. Then there’s the fact that it’s harder to compartmentalise your brain and actually leave your work at school, when you both feel irrationally compelled to eat, sleep, and breathe your theses. On the other hand, dating someone outside academia seems ideal; they can keep you grounded and give you much needed perspective after existential crisis no. 82 of the week. However, with dating someone outside academia they will never truly understand what you are going through, and you run the risk of having to justify putting your life on hold while you finish school.

I feel like I’m flirting with adulthood and still trying to negotiate a real personal life while my career is in arrested development.


(Image: Google)