Hello all..I have been dating a wonderful lady for the last 5 months who is in the throes of completing her PhD, she has submitted her dissertation and is now reviewing it ahead of her Viva. This is an entirely new world to me and I have come to realise how much it can dominate her life and that is a new facet to our relationship I have not been exposed to much before. She has 3 teenage children, works full time and runs her household along with the PhD study.....this is something she has undertaken against many adverse impacts and she is passionate about it and it is something she has achieved and she, frankly, is an amazing lady whom I am lucky to have in my life.
But...I don't have any experience of what she has gone through and whilst we talk about it, and I try to take everything on board as to how the current process will change the day to day mechanics of our relationship, i wondered how other partners of PhD students have found the experience??
I am trying to adjust my lifestyle to give her the space she needs to focus on what she needs to do (we don't live together so this helps to a degree) and am more than happy to do this as I know how much this means to her as it has been a hard road and her achievement leaves me in equal parts awe struck, full of love and affection for her but also a little on the outside looking in (maybe because I came along so late in the process)
Our relationship is strong and secure and I have no problem doing anything I can to ease the final few months...is this the right thing? Have other partners felt similar??
In summary...an awesome, amazing, wonderful lady who has achieved so much, and i am fortunate to have in my life, and i would just like to comprehend as best I can the journey she has had over the years.
It is nice that you have bothered to try and find out more about your GF's situation/experiences, she is lucky to have you supporting her in this way.
If she has submitted and is awaiting viva, then she is on the downhill slope at the moment & although I am sure she is stressed about upcoming viva, this should all be over and done with soon. She may get a pass with minor/major revision or a re-submit which will mean continuing to work with the dissertation for a little while longer but, she may pass without revisions and that will be that!
You haven't indicated if she will be looking for work in academia so that may be the next hurdle as she tries to find a post in a very tight market ... but that is another story.
For the moment, I would suggest continuing what you have already been doing - be there for her when she needs support/a shoulder to cry on - for some people the end can be very emotional & let her 'vent' if she needs to. While you can't know what she is going through, I am sure she would love to talk about her research with you (if she doesn't already), especially if she is as passionate as you say she is.
Good luck to you both :)
======= Date Modified 04 Nov 2011 23:09:08 =======
Shanshuprophecy...thanks for your words, much appreciated. Understanding a little of her PhD journey is important to me, not so I can intrude on it in any way (she has told me how people claim 'credit' in some circumstances about their role in their partners work) but so I can understand some of the stresses she faces
I think at times I may not explain myself to her as well as I can and try too hard to normalise events ...letting her vent isn't personally aimed at me I know and your advice is welcome
And I love hearing her talk about her research, the passion she has for it and the meaning to her...she remains the most amazing woman I have met, the challenges she has overcome and the future she plans for her and her children's benefit
Gosh, I wish my partner was something like as supportive as this.
So she has the viva soon? There is a good chance your partner will be awarded a pass with minor corrections, this happens in about 95% of the cases i've known. The actual nature of the minor corrections will tend to vary from a few typoes to something like a month of full-time work.
Seeing as the PhD is now actually submitted, there should'nt be too many extra demands on your time as the job's done, all she needs to do now is prepare for the viva. I actually found that I required very little preparation for this, although I tried to do lots and got very nervous, the only productive things I did were: read a few journal articles beforhand, and re-read my thesis a few times, and it worked fine for me. I suspect the biggest problem you may have is managing nervousness etc, as this can be quite a stressful time.
Any idea what happens after this?, a big problem with academic careers is moving around, although if she has family this would seem less likely. In my field academic researchers (Post-docs) tend to be on 2-3 year contracts for about a decade untill they either land a lectureship, or find something else to do.
You say she already has a job? Is she likely to continue with this post PhD? If not, things could get complicated, if she is, then this should all be fine.
Best wishes, Cakeman
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