– written by AB, a former graduate wife
Our graduate adventure began with my husband and me working on our master’s degrees while living in Dallas, TX. Following my graduation, I began working as a speech therapist while my husband pursued further graduate qualification. When the time came to make the transition into a PhD program we decided to move to Oxford. It was our best option and we had nothing holding us back, so we went for it! For two relative homebodies, the decision to change continents was a difficult one. It was by far one of the craziest and best decisions my husband and I have made together. Over the past five years, or the majority of our marriage, we met our dearest friends, and expanded our family not once, but twice. And now, after our time in the UK, we find ourselves once again back in Dallas, TX.
As we make the transition into life outside of our graduate study, I find myself desiring the same sort of community we enjoyed in Oxford. Sadly, it was not until the end of our time there that I realized what a gift we had been given in the friendships cultivated during this time. We were surrounded by like-minded people with similar goals, that loved us, treated us as family, and would do anything for us. We gave of what we had, celebrated accomplishments, shared in difficulties, and sharpened one another. At a time when we were so far from home, this community became our family. Although it finds easy expression in the graduate community, I am convinced that such community can be cultivated in countless different contexts. The challenge is finding it in those seasons of life where it doesn’t come so easily.
Since returning to the States we have been very blessed to have our family close by; family who have supported us through every leg of this journey. Despite this support, I find myself feeling a bit behind in some way, often asking myself ‘what have we been doing the past five years?’ Yet, even as I struggle with this I am surprisingly not envious of those around me who I am tempted to consider ‘ahead’ of us. We have neither finances nor job security, but there is so much beauty in a shared adventure, and I would not trade any amount of security for our time in Oxford. For our family this adventure has lead to a greater trust that we are a part of something larger than ourselves. As hard as parts of this process have been, given the opportunity I wouldn’t change a thing.
As a graduate wife, how are you fostering community where you live?
Has it come naturally or is it a challenge?
If you have transitioned to ‘life beyond graduate school’ have you had a similar experience as AB’s at finding community?