-written by Ashley, a friend to several graduate wives
I remember the day my friends packed up everything they owned into a U-Haul, for what would be their first of several grad school journeys. I remember helping them pack and clean, and I remember saying my goodbyes. I remember the tears flowing down my face and all the emotions of my dear, close friends leaving hit me. My friends were speechless. They had never seen me in such a condition, and quite honestly, I had never seen myself in such a condition.
It’s something that we can joke about today, but at the time, it was not a laughing matter. I felt possessed. I felt broken. I felt empty. I was scared. And quite honestly, I was mad. Don’t get me wrong; I was excited for them. But at the root of it, I was being selfish. I didn’t want them to go. I couldn’t help but doubt whether or not this was really the best thing for them. I questioned whether or not they were making a mistake. Didn’t they know that they were wanted and needed right here, with me?
That was 8 years ago. Needless to say, they are still not here with me. Quite the opposite is actually true. Now, they are across the world, in a different time zone, in a different country. Their grad school experience has taken them on a journey that I don’t think any of us would have predicted. And quite frankly, had they known about the journey that awaited them, I’m not sure they would have taken it. But, I am so glad they did. I know I’m not the one taking the classes (hallelujah!) and I know I’m not the one financially supporting (hallelujah!) my significant other as they pursue what I consider academic insanity, but here’s what my friends’ grad school journey has taught me…
It has taught me what it means to put someone’s dreams ahead of your own.
It has taught me what it means to take a risk.
It has taught me what it means to follow someone you love, even if it’s not what you want to do.
It has taught me what it means to be stretched.
It has taught me what it means to be challenged.
It has taught me what it means to want something for someone else.
It has taught me what it means to be a friend.
(And it has taught me that I never want to go to grad school!) :)
If you’re not a graduate wife, but you read this blog, how do you support and encourage a friend of yours who IS a graduate wife or significant other to a graduate?