What’s it like to date as an academic? Our various experiences:
- Kristen has dated two people throughout graduate school, and likes to maintain her independence to achieve her academic goals.
- Rachel wins. She’s dated one person throughout graduate school and into post-doc life, and will be marrying that amour soon!
- Zach’s had a rocky road, dating at least 1 person per year through graduate school, finding it hard to balance each commitment against the other. (“Zach’s love life is my favorite topic” – Kristen)
We discussed several factors that influence an academic’s decision to date. For one, Kristen noted that academic jobs usually require that the partner will “follow” the academic, which places undue strain on traditional gender norms for female academics wanting male partners to follow. Academics are geographically limited in a way other jobs aren’t. Lucky for Rachel, she’s found a partner to follow her around! Being well-educated is actually a hinderance for many women, as Kristen has found both in data and first-hand experience. Gendered standards apply, where for men education and money increase their desirability in dating but for women those same things are more likely to scare things off.
The flexibility of an academic’s schedule is also somewhat of a blessing and a curse. Our schedules are flexible, though our workloads still higher. To non-academics, this workload is often misunderstood or misinterpreted. Working in a coffee shop is still working! Even though it’s flexible, academics work long hours, and many don’t feel they have time to date.
Yet, partners can also be helpful and supportive to the academic lifestyle. They may take care of domestic priorities when academic priorities are overwhelming, like when preparing for defenses or conferences. Some partners are also good copy-editors. (#loveexists for Rachel!)
By the way, if you listen all the way through, you’ll learn a scandalous secret about two members of the Didactic Trio.