Anyone else feel like their life is on hold?



I just wondered if anyone else felt the same way as me...

I'm due to finish my PhD next year, after which I hope to go into academia. My partner and I want to move house, get married and have children, but none of this can even begin to happen until I finish my PhD and get a job. I just feel like someone has hit the pause button on my life.

I suppose this feeling is worse at the moment as a friend who started her PhD at the same time is about to have a baby and my sister who got engaged after me is now planning to have her wedding before mine. I know I need to be sensible and wait until I have a career established before having a family and a job before I plan a wedding... it's just so hard sometimes!

Anyone else feel like their lives are on hold?! :-(

Leanne x


Hi Leanne

Yes, absolutely do feel the same - altho aiming for different things. Yes, I can't wait until this period is over too, I have things I want to do, also want to move to a different city, get a job etc etc and have to get the thesis out of the way first. I keep telling myself that It's not long (I dunno, should be finished in 5-8 months - groan!!) and it will go quickly. I also tell myself that doing this PhD is a great opportunity, and I'm lucky I can do it full-time. Reasoning which doesn't always convince me....

I also think life doesn't completely have to stop while we're studying. Couldn't you get married while doing your PhD? A good wedding can just be a party and doesn't need to be expensive. Or have a party and then have the expensive one when you can? Or plan when you want to have kids as part of the PhD - a friend of mine timed it so she handed in her thesis, then she gave birth 2 days later!! Was really hard for her, but what a week she had! And her life went on as she studied. So, maybe life doesn't have to be so linear?


The short answer to this question is YES. My life is 100% on hold. I've felt like this for YEARS now! Sometimes I think it's good to remind yourself that since you're in no rush to get old and die, there's no point in rushing the good things either. We'll get there. M.x


Thank you for the replies - nice to know I'm not the only one!

I do want a career and so need that to be established before we have children, plus its not viable financially as my partner wants to go back to uni once I have finished my PhD so at least one of needs to be earning a decent wage. As for the wedding we will probably need to move house next yar so that is our priority money wise, plus I am in my final year and so cannot begin to contemplate planning a wedding and writing up! I also don't want to compromise on our plans so know I have to wait.

I know we are doing the right thing by waiting and i don't regret for a minute starting this PhD - i will be so proud of myself when i finish. It is jsut sometimes hard when people are doing the things I want to be doing too - just want it all I suppose!!

We are in no hurry to marry - hell we've been together 7 years, lived together 6 years, and been engaged for 2!!! I know I shouldn't be wishing my life away either, I suppose I'm just getting ready to move on from the PhD - maybe that's a part of the process?



Hi Leanna. May I ask how old you are?


I'm 25, but an 'old 25' if you know what I mean.... I left home at 17 and lived on my own before coming to university at 19. Through university I lived with my partner - so I suppose that relationship wise we are just ready to take the next step. Plus we have been living in our flat for 6 years and have outgrown it so are really feel the need to move.

Avatar for sneaks

oh yes I feel that I am very much in limbo. I got married earlier in the year, but my other half got a job and we had to move in with my mother in law so he can commute while we sell our own house back in our old town. Problem is he now wants to go back in academia, so we are now in a quandry - do we sell the house and risk never getting a mortgage cos of short term academic contracts? do we stay in the house which means I have to commute? Basically until I finish my PhD and hopefully get a job in oct 2010 - we have no idea about whether to move or stay, or if he should quit his job or not aarrrgh!

Avatar for sneaks

Also the whole family thing seems like a ticking time bomb to me. I am 25 and thinking that I will have to establish myself in a job for a few years before going off to have kids and then I think, but I have 'trained' for so many years, should I 'waste' it all having kids. Blokes don't have to think about these things!


hi sneaks,
the kid/time issue is a consideration for me too. my partner is 7 years older than me so he is ready to start having children now to be honest. he is being wonderful about not pressurising me, but i know his biological clock is ticking - but as you say, his career doesn't really enter into it.
as for a mortgage we have decided to wait until we are both set up in careers - so could even be 15 years away. we are in no rush to get a mortgage!
it's so difficult trying to balance it all!!
congratulations on the wedding by the way! Is your old house on the market yet or are you waiting until jobs are sorted next year?

Avatar for sneaks

well we technically accepted an offer, but now we are thinking of pulling out and keeping the house. If we do move, we really need to buy a house rather than rent, because we have 2 cats and a dog. It seems more sensible to keep the house now. My husband is pretty much set on quitting and finishing his PhD and tbh I agree, its better to get it finished, but it does leave us being supported by my stipend, and that is due to stop in Oct 2010, so if neither of us find jobs before then, then we will have a nasty mortgage to pay. Although we used to have student lodgers to pay most of it, so may have to revert to having them back in, which is not idea but ok


it is so difficult not knowing about jobs when plans revolve around them isn't it!? I hope you and your hubby manage to come to a decision! What about part-time work? that would at least secure some income? xx

Avatar for sneaks

he's trying to get lecturing and marking etc. off his supervisor, but any other part time work e.g. office work will be difficult, as people tend to only employ women on a part time basis. He's also thinking about setting up his own consultancy which will be exciting.


I don't really follow why you think your life is on hold because you haven't finished your PhD. You can get married before you finish. You certainly don't need to buy a house to progress your life... the only difficulty is children as PhDs are particularly compatible with maternity leave, but even then I'm sure a 12 month 'sabbatical' could be accommodated. If you want to do things, don’t let the fact you’re still working on a PhD get in the way.

Avatar for sneaks

======= Date Modified 04 Nov 2009 15:06:26 =======
The problem is I have seen half my department go on maternity during their PhDs and 7 years down they line, they still aren't finished. And buying a house is a big deal for me and would mean I can move on with my life cos I am currently living with my mother in law which is not ideal!

I agree that you can get married very easily, as long as you don't let planning things get in the way of the PhD.



We have chosen to delay getting married as we will probably have to move to a new area when i get a job next year so that is our financial priority. We could afford to get maried now, but this would mean no house deposit (and a struggle to save up again in time) and the stress of planning a wedding while writing up is something i would rather avoid!! Actually buying a house is not a priority for us and as for children I would like to be secure in my career before I get pregnant. We wouldn't be able to afford to have children on just my partner's wage so a sabbatical is out of the question too. Anyway there is no way we could afford childcare as a PhD student!!

We are doing the right thing by waiting - I am positive of that - it is just hard sometimes when I'm ready to move on with the next stage of my life, but am unable too until I finish the PhD and get a job