1. People ask you where you’re from and you feel there’s no simple answer anymore. You may give your parents’ state and feel like you’re fibbing or be compelled to tell that you just moved from such and such city for the first Master’s degree, and loved it but don’t really call that home … and the story goes on.
2. You occasionally feel jealousy over the “other woman,” also known as The Dissertation or her close femme fatale cousins, The Laptop, The Library and The Lab.
3. You need to have a heart to heart with your husband or check his schedule and you find yourself emailing to start the conversation.
4. You find a way to eat like kings on less than $5 a day–with a lot of creativity and some admitted concessions (21 ways to serve beans, anyone?).
5. You become an expert bargain shopper and thrift store addict and forget that people do occasionally pay retail.
6. You know Saturdays only partially count as the weekend.
7. You find yourself celebrating unusual successes. “Here’s to the rare book that perfectly supports your argument that just became available in German, sweetheart. Have a cupcake!”
8. Questions from friends and family that used to seem perfectly normal, now strike you as hilarious in their audacity that you might actually know the answer:
“So when will you guys finish the degree?”
“”What’s next after school?”
“Where do you plan to live in a few years?”
9. You become all too familiar with the true meaning of terms you never knew would be so life-shaping: confirmation of status, matriculation, scholarly journals, publishing, stipend, tenure, hireability.
10. Lots of people “back home” keep referring to your life as if you’re on vacation–or that they are. Or perhaps as if you’re a wayward, runaway teen:
“Wish you were here!”
“When ya’ll are back we’ll have to …”
“How much longer until you come back home?”
-Compiled by Laura Lee, a current graduate wife