To all my Ph.D. students...

Hi everyone!!

I will begin my Ph.D. program in January (hopefully!), and I've been engaged since June of this year.  My fiance and I originally planned for a June 2011 wedding, but moved it for financial reasons.  So now the date is June 2012, which would be like a year and a half of the program.  I was talking to my aunt the other day and I was telling her when I planned to marry.  She begged me not to marry until I finished school because being married is apparently hard...(?) Now I'm not saying that marriage is an easy road, but I just don't agree with waiting until I receive a Ph.D. to marry my fiance.  He's a strong advocate of my education, so he's not a distraction. 

So I guess my question is when are you getting married, and if you're getting married during your program, how do you think it will affect you? 

Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.

Re: To all my Ph.D. students...

  • In my program, there are a mix of people getting married early in their work and after they're done (or abd). There is a girl who was a lot further along than I am who advised waiting. When she entered the program, she had a fiance, but they ended up breaking up because they couldn't handle the added stress. Her current boyfriend was married at the time, and he and his wife also broke up due to stress. If you haven't been with your fi when you've been in school, it's hard to know how things will go. I was with my FI for undergrad, so he knows how crazy studious I get, and even then, the added level of work has been difficult on us, because we don't get a lot of us time together (without homework). But we're getting through and I know everything will work just fine. It just takes adjustment for both of us.

    So, long answer to short answer--it really depends on the couple. It sounds like you guys will be just fine, from what you say. Another option you could do is wait until you're like a semester into your work and see how things are going. 
  • I'm getting married during my program as well I just started this semester and I won't be done until May 2013. I'm getting married May 2012. One of my classmates in my program is getting married May 2011 and I've asked her for a lot of advice about planning a wedding and getting your PhD and she's given me some great pointers. My FI is in the military so we had to plan a date around that and my school life. I agree with Zippy it all depends on the couple I think you all will be just fine
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  • I am not in a PhD program; however, I am in a masters program. I recently got engaged, and I am not in the process of figuring out when is the best time to get married. We do not want to wait more then a year: I will be in my last semester of the program. However, I do agree with what a previous person said: it really depends on you fh. Is he understanding when it comes to your education? Mine is very understanding, and knows how important school is to me. I will be under a lot of stress because I need to finish my masters/plan a wedding/find a job. 

    Talk to your fh and see what he thinks of the situation. 
  • I have been with my FI since I was a junior in college, so he's used to seeing me busy with schoolwork and other school related activities which I don't plan to keep during grad school.  He's also very understanding when it comes to my education and knows that it's a priority in my life.  I just wanted to see how you all are coping with wedding planning and school.  And then the good thing about the program that i'll begin in January is that I'll have a fellowship, which is a blessing so i'll only have schoolwork.

    I also wanted to ask how were your transitions from undergrad to grad?

    Side note: I realized that my aunt gave me the best advice she could bc she held off on her education because she married my uncle and was head over heels for him, which is why she's back in school now after like 20 yrs.
    Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
  • I have never been out of school (literally!). I graduated with a BA January 2010, and I had a hard time finding employment. I then decided to become certified to teach English as a foreign language (got the certification by August 2010). I then started graduate school September 2010. I will have most of my classes (except for one) done by August 2011. I will only have my capstone (major class before graduation) during the fall 2011 semester. I am doing the fast track (currently taking 12 credits, and will take 15 credits next semester, and 12 in the summer). I decided to do the fast track because I could not find a job. I decided that going to school (considering I did not need to worry about tuition payments) was better then staying at home. I will be 23 when I get married and graduate with my masters. 

  • don't put your life on hold! you will have been in your program long enough to get adjusted and you probably won't be working on your proposal/comps yet. i think that your timeframe sounds like it makes a lot of sense.
  • As far as planning goes, I did the majority of my planning the summer before I started, and then as luck would have it, a lot of my other appointments fall around Christmas and/or Spring Break. 

    For transition--it was a huge transition. Tons and tons more reading and paperwriting. But it depends on your program. I'm in musicology, which is very heavy on research, and I'm at a school that stresses research. So even though I felt like I did homework all the time at undergrad, it definitely got way more intense in grad school. I don't mean to be scary, just honest, because I didn't know what was coming. 
  • Like a previous poster I've never really been out of school either. I graduated Dec 2007 with my BS in Psychology Jan 2008 I started my Master's program in Rehabilitation Counseling , graduated May 2010 and took the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor exam to get my certification  and I started my PhD program in Rehab Counseling in Aug 2010. The biggest transition for me was moving from state to state. I got my BS in VA, MS in NC, and now I'm in IL. I did 12 credits 2 semesters straight in my Masters program in order to get out earlier and I even did 18 credits 2 semesters in undergrad. I'll be 29 when I get my PhD and I think that's a great accomplishment. Having a fellowship is great so you can focus on school work but make sure u can make your money work for you! I was on scholarship with my Master's and I also worked as a GA which was paid as well as my monthly stipend from the scholarship. My last semester I had to do a 600 hour internship which was paid as well so saving all the money helped me move to IL and I'm on a traineeship here which gives me enough to pay my bills and have some left over. My FI is a great help I must say. It's been a hard road but in the end it will all be worth it. I think you will be fine..where are you going to grad school?
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  • I understand when people put off the wedding until graduation because they need time to save, they don't think they will have time to plan, or there's no good time to have the wedding with travel and whatnot, but I think it's kind of silly to wait until you graduate to get married because marriage is hard.  WTF?

    Marriage may not be easy, but I don't see why delaying it until graduation is supposed to help.  If you guys are so rocky that waiting until you get a degree is the difference between making it and getting a divorce, then you have bigger issues.  I'm not saying that's the case for you guys at all, but it seems to be what your aunt is saying.  Sure, grad school adds stress, but so will having kids, buying a home, etc.  There are bound to be times that test your marriage, so if you have good reason to get married now, I don't see the point in delaying it.
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  • I think regardless of if it is school now, or work later, there will always be stress within a marriage, it's normal. It's just a matter of how you two deal with it. I'm in law school at the moment and will be getting married during my second year. It has been very stressful and we have had some struggles, but we have been able to work through them. I think as long as you are able to do that, you will be fine. :)
  • I am just finishing up my first quarter of my Psych PhD program. I have been with my fiance for 6 years (as of Dec 8th). We are both students and because he was in the hospital for awhile, he is behind me in school and wont get a career until much later, so there is no way we could support ourselves so we are waiting to get married. If you and your fiance can support yourselves without help from ur families then I see no reason not to get married during your program (just make sure that you actually do all your work).

    I will not lie, although I just started, PhD programs are MUCH MUCH MUCH harder than any undergraduate classes. You are expected to do a lot more in a shorter amount of time. I have probably learned about a year's worth of undergraduate statistics in about 2 months. You will be very busy doing both studying for school and planning a wedding, but with help you will be able to do it all.

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  • Thank you ladies for your input. And meeko84, I'll be going to grad school in Alabama.  Finances really won't be that much of a problem bc of the fellowship with this program, which is a great thing.  But I feel that FI and I can make it through anything since we've been strong this far.
    Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
  • Hi there!

    I'm currently in a Ph.D. program and will be getting married in May 2011.  I started working on my Ph.D. in the fall of '08, and am working on finishing in the fall of '12. Grad school is much different from undergrad, so just understand that there is much more work involved. They don't just hand out Ph.D's! However, I haven't found any conflict with wedding planning and going to school at the same time... but then again I guess that depends also on how much time you plan on putting in to your wedding. It sounds like you will be having a long engagement, which I did also. I think that's good, so you can work on wedding stuff when you have lulls in research.

    My fiance is very supportive of my decision to get my Ph.D. He's also in grad school currently. I actually think things will get better once we're married... then we can stop all this long-distance craziness!
  • I'm in a PhD program, and I don't think there should be a problem getting married while you're in the program.  I'm getting married right after I finish, partly because of when we got engaged (after my third year of grad school) and because we aren't getting married where I go to school.  BUT, I know a lot of people that are married in my program, and they seem to be doing fine.  Of course, it won't be easy, but I'm sure you already know that!  People from older generations (like your aunt, probably) may not have lived with their fiance before getting married.  IF you live with your finace before getting married, the transition to married life is much smoother (I think!)

    Good luck!
  • I'm in a doctorate program and also know that there are a number of my classmates who have gotten married since I started in 2008 or are planning to get married soon (definitely before we graduate). I even plan on getting married next summe and still have 3 more years to go.

    I will say it depends on you and your FI. If you think that your planning will interfere with your study schedule then set aside specific hours to focus on your wedding. It doesn't really take all day every day to plan a wedding. I try to work on my wedding stuff for a few hours on the weekend and then devote the rest of my time to studying. If you both really want to do it I say go for it. If you're not ready then wait. But figure out why you're really waiting and plan accordingly because those issues may or may not still be there when school is finished.
  • I think I get where your aunt is coming from, because that was how my mom was.  She wanted me to finish school before getting married.  Maybe that is an older generation thing?  It seemed like she was worried about me getting distracted and quitting school because of the wedding.  I would take what your aunt said with a grain of salt, look at your relationship (as PP mentioned) and make the choice.  It seems like you will be fine.  It is possible to be in school and plan a wedding (although TK makes for quite a distraction from research!)
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